Building Houses

A friend recently recommended a book to me— Chop Wood, Carry Water by Joshua Medcalf— and I want to share a brief story that really hit home for me, and it’s one I want to remember as we finish this semester and begin a new one.

[Akira took John aside and told him] in Japan they have a deep love of architecture, and there once was a man named Kota who built some of the finest houses in all of Tokyo. His work became world famous due to his dedication to the process, his willingness to beat on his craft, and his relentless devotion to keep learning, even late into his career.

Eventually though, Kota grew tired of building homes for other people and he was ready to retire. He had been building homes for over thirty years, and he was ready to move on. He wanted to travel and spend lots of time with his grandkids.

One day, Kota approached his boss, and turned in his two-week notice.

His boss said, “Kota, we are forever indebted to you for the magnificent work you have done for our company, and we are so grateful you have worked for us for so long. We do have one favor to ask of you though. Could you please build one more house? It is a very important house, for a very important client, and everyone in the company agreed it needs your magic touch!"

Kota was frustrated. He would have to cancel two trips and postpone his new life, all for one house. He told his boss that he needed a day to think about it. After talking it over with his wife, he gave in and decided he would build one more house. But he told his boss, “This is the very last one!"

But while Kota had agreed with his head to build this last house, his heart was no longer in it. He had always been very hands-on through the entire building process, always selecting the finest materials by hand and making sure every detail was diligently tended to.

But this house was different.

He viewed it more as an
obligation than an opportunity. He delegated much of the work, and consequently a lot of things started slipping through the cracks. The house would be up to code, but as it started to come together, it was obvious that it lacked the “wow" factor that Kota’s other homes were known for.

Kota knew in his heart that this was far from his best work, but he was over it and ready to move on to the next phase of his life. The next phase was much more appealing and important to him than the present phase.

After four months had passed, Kota finally finished the house.

He went back to his boss, telling him, “I did what you asked. Now I am asking, one last time, for your blessing to retire."

His boss said, “Thank you Kota! We just have one more thing!"

Now Kota was beginning to get really upset because he thought they were going to ask him to build another house.

His boss reached into his desk and pulled out a very small black box with a red ribbon tied around it. He handed the box to Kota, and said, “We are so grateful for you, Kota. This gift is a token of our appreciation."

Kota pulled the ribbon, opening the box to discover a set of shiny new keys. His boss smiled, “The house is yours! You deserve it!"

Immediately, his heart sank. Unbeknownst to Kota, the whole time he had been building his own house. If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have cared so much more. He would have only used the finest materials, and he would have overseen every detail and given it his all like he had always done. But now, it was too late.

Akira looked at John and said, “The only thing that is truly significant about today, or any other day, is who you become in the process. Each of us are building our own house. Sometimes you might think you are building for your school, your family, your company, or your team, but you are always building your own house… I hope you build wisely."

The story hit home for John and he really started to think deeply about his own life. He sat in silent contemplation while wondering if he had been building his house wisely.

*Medcalf, Joshua. Chop Wood Carry Water: How to Fall In Love With the Process of Becoming Great (pp. 4-6). Lulu Publishing Services. Kindle Edition.

  • Sunday’s Mustang Christmas couldn’t have gone better. It’s such a great Mustang Missions event, and our students showed up ready to serve. A big thanks goes to Danny Sullivan, Jan Penrod, and Kathy Holland for leading the charge and for making it a special day for everyone involved.

  • Monday’s Choir Tour went very well and it was great that our students had the opportunity to sing at both elementary campuses, the airport, Briarwood Nursing Home, and Presbyterian Village. A big shout-out goes to Tori Beach for leading our choir to be such great performers. Also, thanks to Bradley Spencer for driving the bus for them (as you might imagine, driving a bus at the airport is no small task).

  • Track Attack Shout #1— Both days of Track Attack went very smoothly. Tuesday’s dodgeball tournament was really fun (except for our team losing), and I loved seeing so many teachers involved and having fun with our students. It’s important they see us in a different light, and the dodgeball tournament certainly provides that opportunity. A big thanks to everyone who helped serve food, monitor students, and participate in the dodgeball chaos.

  • Track Attack Shout-Out #2— Wednesday’s Elementary Track Attack couldn’t have happened without Jordan Watson, Keith Almond, Chelsea Baber, Melissa Leverett, James Wilhite, Sonya Gates, Lisa Lancaster, and Chad Tappe. I love having all of our elementary students here on campus, and they love being here even more!

  • Track Attack Shout-Out #3— I made a HUGE mistake on Wednesday with Elementary Track Attack! Long story short, both gyms were being used without an alternative plan for 6th grade PE. On top of that, Blake McNair had an observation scheduled with his professor! Thankfully (and here’s where the shout-out comes in), Kassandra Allison, Jimmy Teigen, Tamara Hodges, Bradley Spencer, and Blake McNair all were willing, at the last minute, to swap 3rd and 4th periods so that the gym would be available for PE. Everything worked out great. The students were able to have PE, Coach McNair completed his observations, and no classes were missed. I’m so thankful it all worked out!

  • I heard from a few teachers who took The Teacher Report Card challenge from last week. Asking students for honest feedback is risky, so well done! I hope you’re able to learn from their perspectives and to grow from asking them for feedback. It’s not too late if you’d like to do it as well. (Also, it’s not too late to provide me some feedback if you’d like.)

Upcoming Events

Responsibilities for Next Week
Week B
  • Cafeteria AM— C. Morse
  • Cafeteria PM— C. Sherrill
  • Parking Lot AM— M. Leverett
  • Parking Lot PM— M. Johnson
  • HS Lunch— A. Jamison, M. Leverett, C. Sherrill, & D. Sullivan
  • MS Lunch— M. Johnson, C. Prestridge, & B. Spencer
  • Chapel— Admin
  • Detention— Admin

Resources Worth Checking Out

Ever been asked, “When are we ever going to use this in real life?" by a student? Here’s a great response.

(click image to read article)

Great suggestions for technology use in the classroom!

(click image to read article)

Check out the new 1600 app from The White House— my kids thought loved it!

(click image to view video and click here to read more about the app)

Boy’s rare sight condition inspires ‘Buy Sight, Give Sight’ eyewear company

Upcoming Free Goal-Setting Webinar from Michael Hyatt

(click image to view details and register for one of the six free live sessions)

Book Recommendation

(click image to view on Amazon— only $5 on Kindle!)