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.