How Snowstorms Make You Accountable

Last night’s snow removal was going great until my teenaged son’s ATV snowplow quit. All of a sudden, it appeared Dad’s help was going to be required if he was to meet his “client commitments” and homework assignments for the night. That led to some quality father/son time out there together behind the snowblower and on the end of a shovel, clearing neighbors’ driveways.

“Plus, it’s good exercise”, I told myself.

Now, 6 am. I look out the upstairs window to see another layer of the nice, heavy wet stuff. Get on my longjohns and head out. My first phone call isn’t until 9, so I have lots of time to clear our drive… and this will justify skipping the YMCA today.

Then I think about my son’s “client commitments” which I know he isn’t going to get to before leaving for school around 7.

So, it’s off to client #1 with the blower. The snowplow has already been by and, of course, the end of their driveway is piled high. Almost nailed a dogwalker I was concentrating so hard on blowing that slush.

Client #2 was just the same, except I had to stop for a chat with Mo (80) and ask how he and Irene (84) were doing. They are our adopted parents/grandparents in Chicago and dropping by without at least a chinwag is not an option.

Now I was running late; “What am I doing?” I asked myself, as I rushed home.

That’s when growing up on the farm came to mind.

Whenever it snowed, Dad would make sure all the neighbor’s lanes were clear before he started four barns of chores – never heard him complain about it once. If one of us boys made a commitment to do a neighbor’s chores – theirs came before ours, and when necessary, we all chipped in to get the jobs done.

No questions. It’s just what you did.

Stuff breaks, plans change, it snows. Doesn’t change a commitment. When your name (even if it’s your son’s) is beside a commitment, you make sure it gets done. Your neighbors – and clients – are counting on you.

That’s how snowstorms make you accountable and that’s how I was taught to set an example.

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