Blue Collar

Our driveway is 1/2 mile long, so we load the garbage in the back of the pickup and drive it to the road on trash day.

It just so happened that as we were heading out to go to our homeschool group’s Random Runaround Day, or what the Type A moms call “Gym Day”, we met the trash truck at the end of the drive.

I waited and the kids all watched while the worker riding on the back of the truck quickly grabbed the bags of garbage and tossed them into the truck, nodding to me in thanks for being patient. I smiled and gave him a thumbs up.

“Ew! He has to stick his head all the way in our trash can!” one of the girls exclaimed. “Does he have to hang on to the back of the truck all the day?” asked another.

“That’s right,” I said. “He gets up early every morning and hangs on to the back of the truck so he can make sure everyone’s trash gets taken to the dump. Imagine how proud he is at the end of every day at what a good job he has done and that he has made money so his family can buy groceries!”

I told them that working hard is something to be proud of, that God created us to work, and if we do it to the best of our ability and honor Him while we are at it, we are pleasing Him.

I recall hearing an acquaintance tell of how he told his high school students that they had better pay attention to what he was teaching them or they might end up “like those men out there” and he pointed out the window to a work crew repaving the parking lot.

I remember wondering if any of the students in his class had a father “out there” and thought he must have felt embarrassed if he did. I wondered if those men “out there” were making more money than that high school teacher and how they felt about their work every day when they drove past that newly redone parking lot.

There is no shame in hard, sweaty work. There is honor in a job well done, even the dirty jobs.

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Comments

  1. Amen! I come from a long line of blue collar men and will be so proud if my sons grow up to work hard with their hands! There is something about hard physical labor (with reward, not talking slavery here) that is good for the soul!

  2. Ditto on the Amen!! Good for you for explaining it the way it should be. :) (My DH is a blue collar worker.)

  3. So, so well-stated. I come from a long line of upper-middle class, white collar, college-degreed individuals. And, while that’s fine and dandy, I have always, ALWAYS been taught to respect those in blue-collar occupations– they get the job done and make the world go ’round.

  4. Well put! My husband is a blue-collar worker and has done the exact job pictured above. Yes, at times it does mean good money, but that money doesn’t always get you through the day emotionally. He never misses an opportunity to tell our kids the importance of getting a good education so they don’t come home smelling like him and doing a job they hate for the rest of their life.

  5. Well said!

  6. I agree.

  7. It is the blue collar jobs that keep the world going. I work in an office and very much appreciate the cleaners. How gross it would be to work in a filthy office with a filthy bathroom. Thank God for the cleaners in the world!

  8. Amen and Amen! I always tell my husband and daughter that I admire the trash man and all the men doing the hard work out on the sun. They get my respect – they’re working hard and doing a job that I cannot do.
    Kudos to you for teaching your children such a valuable lesson! :-) Love your blog.

  9. What amazing timing God has. My husband has moved into management 3 different times after “turning wrenches” – Last week he told the owner of the company to keep his pay raise and salary, put him back on hourly and let him retire happily from the company in another 20 years of being a mechanic. They are currently trying to transition him back out into the shop and I can already see the happy, healthy change in my husband!

  10. But now God hath set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased him. And if they all were one member, where would be the body? But now there are many members indeed, yet one body.
    Corinthians 12:18-20
    Yes, we need each person to do his job in our world if we want a world that works well.

  11. Thank you for that! I come from several generations of blue collar workers, and they are both skilled and intelligent. Also, my girls always thought the garbage truck (ours just has a hook that picks up the can and dumps it) looked like the most fun job in town :)

  12. When my kids were little, I always told them we can’t all be doctors and lawyers and bankers. Somebody needs to run the grocery store. Somebody needs to drive the semi to get the groceries to the store. Somebody needs to grow the food to put on the truck to send to the grocery store. What if no one wanted to put the food on the trays each day for the kids at school? What would they eat? What if our car broke down and there was no one that knew how to fix it? Or the A/C broke, or the hot water heater, or who would cut our hair or change the light bulbs in the traffic lights?
    I think being a trash man would be very satisfying.

  13. Michelle Bonneau says:

    In a World where the blue collar worker and hard work have flown out the window I am proud to say my husband is the Garbage man! Well that is when he is in the furlough season from railway conductor. You are right those men work hard harder then most might imagine! But I thank God every day for my hard working blue collar man and I thank you for mentioning them in such a positive light to often normal schools (and society) project these men as unintelligent I wonder if your teacher friend realized that those “men” in the parking lot he felt so sorry for were bringing home twice his salary lol ! My husband is a man I am proud of who to often encounters the stereo type of “stupidity ” because of what he does! Most would be Amazed to know my husband was a physics major a Navy Man whose specialty was submariner nuclear engineer .. But then all to often we look at the book and judge before we even have a chance to absorb the beauty of the words below its cover! I thank God that my man is a hidden treasure a Gem that not all the world sees because it makes his beautiful meaning all the more cherished by me ! (P.s I realized this may seem like bragging I just wanted to get the point across that all to often these men are looked down upon in our world when in all actuality they are brilliant genuine salt of the earth men who go the distance for their family’s my admiration of my husband just comes out a little to much i guess sometime slol ) !

    • Rebecca L. says:

      It’s nice to hear bragging on one’s husband….most women are so busy tearing down their husband, it’s embarrassing.

  14. @Michelle- I enjoy what you wrote and I know your husband must feel blessed to have a wife like you who appreciates all that he does and is!

    My dad always taught me “The money spends the same” in reference to not being snobbish about what job-title one holds. As for me, I feel quite in communion with the blue-collar workers of the world since what I do as a stay at home mom amounts to the same. Someone has to clean the butts, discipline the kids, clean the house, make the meals, help with homework etc.. etc… It can be quite dirty messy work indeed!

  15. We live in a neighborhood of well to do folks – in fact we see ‘mansions’ out most of our windows! Our home could fit in many of their garages, which we think is kind of fun! One day our neighbor, a lawyer, was out with his teen boys picking up sticks and branches after a night of heavy winds. Since we rarely see the boys out of doors, I greeting them and tried to make pleasant conversation with their father. The boys were surly and disgruntled – rude in fact, but their father quickly explained it away. ‘I’m making them pick up sticks and they hate it, which is part of my plan – I want them to hate menial labor enough to motivate them to work hard in school so they don’t ever have to do it.’ I didn’t know how to respond, but my heart broke for those boys.

  16. Great post! There is no shame in working hard to feed your family. Americans shouldn’t be so quick to turn their noses up at blue collar work.

  17. I completely agree with everything you wrote!

    My husband (who, sorry ladies, is quite possibly the best husband in the world) often works out-of-state as a pipefitter in refineries in places that most people would choose not to live. He works long, long hours and days without a break. His work is dirty and often dangerous. He does it because the money is good and it allows us to save up and then take he takes a break from working. For now he gets to enjoy his hobbies (mainly hunting and fishing) for a long stretch of time, but when we have children he will be able to have extended time with them. Most people would never know that he is a classically trained chef (among other things). I don’t think I could ever trade my hard-working, laid-back, country-loving husband for a guy that sits at a desk all day and is worried about his appearance. I’m so proud of him, and I know he will teach our future children so many of the hard work, working-with-your-hands skills he has developed over the eyars.

  18. Yay, Connie! Good post. So important a message!

  19. In a world that says “you have to go to college and get a good job,” this message is so important. A good job is one that is honorable and ethical and pays the bills. We had to have our septic tank pumped last spring, and it was by far the grossest job I have ever seen done. But rather than sticking up our noses at the person doing it, my husband and I kept telling our children how grateful we were that there was someone willing to do it. And then my husband went out and visited with the man while it he was getting the job done. Gratitude goes a long way!

  20. Work truly is a priveledge isn’t it? I remember our first house that my husband and I bought. Just kneeling in our (very small) yard planting plants and getting dirty, I thanked God for our home and a chance to WORK. Really work.

  21. WOOHOO!!! Another PROUD wife of a blue collar man here!!!!
    My husband is everybody’s favorite when the awful summer heat knocks out their A/C. And when their heat quits working, guess who they call?
    Yeah, my man always has dirty hands. It’s a trophy. He has provided for 10 children and a wife who has never so much as been asked to go out and get a job. His dirty hands and hard working attitude have allowed me to homeschool these kids. And I have never seen him turn donw a job, no matter how hard.
    He took a break from Heating and Air one time. hee hee…He drove a dump truck for 10 years!!! Got even dirtier then!!
    Love you for posting this, Connie. And obviously I am not the only one!!!

  22. My father used to tells kids that if we were meant to dig a ditch in life then we had better dig the best darn ditch we could!
    I still say that to this day as I tell my children to be proud of the work they do, own it, and take responsibility for their actions.

  23. Amen!! The funny thing is blue collar workers actually make a lot of money, and they aren’t weighed down by tons of student loans.
    Seriously though, a 1/2 mile long driveway??? It’s a good thing you live somewhere where it doesn’t snow. It took me an hour to shovel my tiny driveway yesterday!

  24. AMEN…We have taught our kids that there is a job for everybody. From opening and welcoming people at walmart to curing cancer. NOBODY IS MORE IMPORT THAN OTHERS. We are well educated people. We teach our children that education that is important but you NEVER act or THINK that you are better than other because of that education. It takes all walks of life to make this world go round. In our group of friends we have every walk of life. From factory workers to nurses to teachers to walmart employees, to Engineers, stay at home moms. Every person is just as important as the next.

  25. This sounds like a conversation I would have with my kids (if they found the garbage truck gross–they think it is cool :p)–teachable moments tend to pop up when you least expect them :)

  26. I just had to say, “thank you”. We need good, honest men who are not afraid to do tough, physical jobs that make the world a better place. I feel that often college degrees are unnecessary-and an impediment to those who would be better served by on the job training. Thank the Lord for construction workers, garbagemen, mechanics and even those often maligned Walmart and McDonald’s workers. Life would not be nearly as comfortable without them.

  27. We have a slightly different type of blue/white collar divide in the military, the ingrained one of enlisted/officer. My husband is an officer; the hsubands of some of my friends are officers and some are enlisted. It boils down to the same thing. White-collar guys and officers need to know how to work with their hands, and blue collar guys/enlisted men should use their minds, each in their respecitve off times.

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