Today, I'm talking about someone very important to me and sharing some of his "tools" with you. The jeweler's tools pictured above were the ones my grandfather once used to set stones in rings and pendants. The Lord took him home 2 1/2 years ago, and it wasn't until after he died that I realized the extensiveness of his jewelry making "hobby." His involvement in jewelry making was actually entirely unrelated to mine! I had no idea his workshop was filled with so much professional jeweler's equipment, most of which is sitting in my house right now. I have yet to use any of the machines; his hand tools are the only things I've made use of so far. They were old and needed cleaning, but they were his and because of that, I love being able to work with them. My grandfather was a good man, father, husband, protector, and provider, but in addition to those things, he was also a tremendously hard working entrepreneur.
Papa could look at a block of wood and see a business opportunity. I don't remember how many ventures he got off the ground, but it was more than a few. He was extremely gifted in business building, and had a clear understanding of what customers needed and deserved. He treated them the way he wanted to be treated: with respect and fairness. This meant that he never accepted excuses for customer neglect when he stepped inside a store, restaurant or any type of business because of his high standards for himself. They're standards he passed down to my mother and that she passed on to me and my sister. We'll call them Papa's tools of the trade:
1.) Earn respect by giving it.
2.) Be straight with people.
3.) Show up early.
4.) Don't be afraid to fire someone.
5.) Do more than is expected of you.
6.) Be your own boss.
7.) Make the customer feel right, even if they aren't.
Papa passed away before my business really got started. I firmly believe my entrepreneurial spirit comes from him, and I can't count the number of times I've wished that he were here to share the experience he had acquired. His words would've been invaluable. I still have a hard time believing he won't be around for his three granddaughters' weddings or to see the boys grow into men, but I'm thankful that he shared what he could while he could.
My papa would've been 72 years old today. His words and his tools are precious to me, and I'm so grateful for the role he played in my life.
Happy Birthday, Papa Bear!