Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

When I hear the phrase work ethic, I always think about my own father.

For as long as I can remember, he has worked two jobs: he works nights full-time in the pharmacy at a local hospital, and then loads up his lawn equipment during the day to service properties in the neighborhood. He logs countless hours and often functions with minimal sleep. I’ve always admired his commitment and drive, and he’s truly the epitome of what it means to provide for one’s family.

While most people know me as a secondary educator, lawn maintenance has been my summer gig probably since age 12 or 13. I was never forced into it, but it was always an open invitation. If I wanted to help, it was there. There was always work and plenty of it. And what teenager wouldn’t want some spending money in his pocket?


When I was a youngster, I would help my dad, but I couldn’t wait to be done. In truth, I didn’t care much for lawn care. There, I said it.

A lawn guy admitting he hates cutting lawns? I don’t know if that’s the guy you want maintaining your property.

RELATED: Like Father, Like Son

Thankfully, though, my dad was there to oversee the work. Some days it just seemed like we’d never finish the lawns. Stop after stop after stop. Lawn care, as I saw it, detracted from my summer freedom. Sure, my father paid me for helping, but cutting grass meant I wasn’t in the pool. Cutting grass meant I wasn’t on the golf course.

Cutting grass meant I wasn’t drinking Slurpees with my friends.

There was always a host of things I wasn’t doing while cutting grass with my dad.

Eventually, though, I started to realize that the time I spent cutting lawns was about so much more than just overlapping the mower paths. Sure, the final product was important (especially to the customer), but my father was teaching me—and not always explicitly through verbal instructions, either.

Much of what I learned from my father during those long summer days on the lawn circuit was how to treat people. And it was always a direct result of my dad modeling it himself. I saw firsthand how he took care of his customers, and it left an indelible impression on me.

It’s important to note that many of my father’s customers were of the elderly persuasion. In all the interactions I can recall, his patience was always on display—his thoughtfulness ever-present. I can remember taking care of our regular customers, and—without fail—a neighbor would emerge asking if we could cut her lawn, too.

Whenever I saw an unfamiliar face approaching my father while working, I just knew what was coming. I also knew exactly what my father’s answer would be.

I’d shake my head and expel a heavy sigh.

Selfishly, I wanted nothing more than to get back to my regularly scheduled summer activities. I didn’t want to cut another lawn, not a chance. We had reached our quota—we were supposed to be done. My dad, though, almost always obliged. And I know there were days where he must have been so incredibly tired from his midnight shift, but you’d never know it by watching him.

And while taking on that extra lawn meant a little less time for rest before his next shift, he saw it as an opportunity to take care of someone.

It’s easy to see it, now. He was never just in the lawn business. It was never just about lawns. It was about the people, too.

RELATED: I’m Teaching My Kids Early to Respect Adults

He provided a service, but he always made time to chat. Those widows and widowers would light up when my father pulled up toting his trailer. They’d come out ready to “shoot the breeze” before he could even exit his vehicle. The lawn cutting would just have to wait for a few minutes, sometimes.

Now if that’s not a testament to a man’s character, I don’t know what is.

So while I may not have had as much time as I wanted for other things, the time I spent watching my father was priceless. I’m grateful for those lessons, and to this day I still join my father during the summer to help out with the lawns.

They call it lawn care.

And when I think of my dad’s commitment to his customers, there couldn’t be a more fitting description.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Patrick Danz

Patrick Danz is a follower of Christ, husband, father, educator, and sports enthusiast. He lives in Trenton, Michigan, with his wife, Nicole, and their three children: Keason, Carmella, and Alessandra. When he's not teaching, Patrick spends his time writing, golfing, grilling, and quoting lines from Groundhog Day. His work has appeared on and Fatherly.      

My Dad Showed Me the Greatest Lessons Are Taught Through Example

In: Fatherhood
grandpa holding donut box with grandson

Waiting at the window, I arranged the blue ruffles on my brand new dress and flipped my hair around to look just right. It was a night to be fancy. It was my first date. My face was flushed as I looked forward to the night ahead. I knew it was a big deal to be taken out and I would get special treatment. I would pick the restaurant and maybe we would have some ice cream and walk around downtown before the sun went down. After that, I was pretty sure we could go to the store and that...

Keep Reading

It Doesn’t Matter How Old I Am—I’ll Always Need My Daddy

In: Fatherhood, Grown Children, Living
Vintage photo of little girl on bike with her dad

I have always been a Daddy’s girl, much to my mom’s frustration.  She always said my dad and I were wired the same, and that’s why it’s always just “worked.” Sure, we have had our struggles and frustrations—when two people think almost the exact same way, certainly there will be battles. But my dad has always had my back, without fail.   Whether he had to question a school decision or staff my senior class retreat (yes, my dad is featured in my high school yearbook), I knew he would be there. He thought he would lose me someday, that having...

Keep Reading

I’m Just a Little Boy, but Daddy You’re Teaching Me How to Be a Man

In: Fatherhood, Marriage
Daddy on the floor playing with son, color photo

I’m only a little boy, still too young to tie my own shoes or make my own breakfast. My days are filled with playtime, snacks, lots of hugs from Mommy, and plenty of tickles from you, Daddy. Right now, my life revolves around me and you and Mommy. I don’t know much about the world outside our home yet. I haven’t learned about responsibility or self-discipline or sacrifice. I haven’t had to find my place in the world yet. But I guess I’m pretty lucky because even though you may not know it, you’ve already begun teaching me everything I...

Keep Reading

You’re the Father You Never Had and I’m So Proud of You

In: Fatherhood, Marriage
Dad and kids walking on beach

Can I tell you about my husband? He’s amazing. He’s kind and doting and loves Jesus, but perhaps his most endearing trait is the absolutely incredible father he is.  In our early days of dating, he was crippled by the fear of what type of father he would be. To him, fatherhood was burdensome, grumbling, abandonment, and fighting for the final dollar during tax season. His experience as a son crippled his anticipation as a father.  But I knew it all along—what an incredible dad he would be. Although I must admit, he has often far surpassed what I even...

Keep Reading

To the Stay At Home Mom From Your Husband: I See You

In: Fatherhood, Marriage

To the woman who sacrificed her comfort zone—leaving her family, friends, and everything she’d ever known—to follow her new husband across the country for his job: I see you. To the wife who pours herself into making a house her home, only to have to move again: I see you. To the wife who put her career, education, and personal pursuits on hold for the sake of her family: I see you. To the mom who went through pain and misery for nine months, only to have motherhood turn out to be nothing like she’d dreamed and longed for it...

Keep Reading

I Struggled With My Son’s Diagnosis, But Found Hope in the Special Needs Community

In: Fatherhood, Tough Times

When I found out I was going to be a father I was beyond excited. My wife and I had been trying to conceive for years before she got pregnant. So, when she told me I was going to be a father I wanted to shout it to the rooftops! I made sure to call my wife every day at work to make sure she ate lunch. I’m sure I annoyed the heck out of her. We later found out that we were having a boy, and started to plan everything. We started to paint the baby room with blues...

Keep Reading

My Son is Growing Up, But I’ll Hold On To the Pictures Forever

In: Fatherhood

A certain part of my heart longs for these moments to never change. I look back on pictures like this one, where my oldest son tastes the salty breeze on his lips for the first time, feeling the sand underneath his toes and laughing out loud at this wholly new experience. I look back and want to freeze it, but in something more than a single picture, more solid than a flimsy memory, more lifelike in substance than what a camera can fashion. RELATED: Stay With Me a Little Longer, Daddy Because that little person who could not stand without...

Keep Reading

I Want My Sons to See How Important It is to Cover Your Wife

In: Fatherhood, Marriage

Transparent moment—I did not always do the best job of covering my wife. Early in our marriage, I was often guilty of being selfish. Our first of four childbirths had contentious moments. From the whistle I jokingly wore on our first trip to the hospital while she was in labor, to me telling her in the midst of her frustration that if we didn’t have the baby that night, she could decide if she’d go into work the next day—I’m not proud of the way I handled some of the challenges. RELATED: 5 Ways To Love Your Wife After the...

Keep Reading

Dads: Your Kids Love Doing Things Because They Get to Do Them With You

In: Fatherhood

This piece was co-written with the author’s husband, Nathan Glenn. I remember my husband taking our daughter golfing for the first time and wondering if she’d enjoy it like he did. He’d dress our kids up in Pittsburgh gear, hoping they’d love the Steelers and Pirates and Penguins as much as he does. When we imagined our someday kids, he hoped he’d have someone that would want to play catch with him and go sit on the banks for hours fishing. Now here we are over a decade into this parenting three thing, and our oldest has her own clubs...

Keep Reading

This British Dad’s Parody of Orlando Bloom’s Daily Routine Has Us Cracking Up

In: Fatherhood

Two men on the same parenting journey see things a bit differently. Read to the end for this British dad’s hilarious take on what it’s like to be a father if you’re not a famous A-list celebrity. Ever since his cinematic debut as Legolas in the Lord of the Rings film series, celebrity actor Orlando Bloom has been capturing hearts around the world. Let’s be honest, we all know why our wives were so excited when Pirates of the Caribbean hit theatres. Outside of fantasy, there’s not much that makes Mr. Bloom relatable to the average Joe. However, parenthood tends...

Keep Reading