A master carpenter who worked for the same builder for nearly 50 years announced he wanted to retire. The builder told him how much he appreciated his work. He gave the carpenter a $5,000 bonus and asked him if he would build just one more house. The builder owned a magnificent lot with a spectacular view, and said he wanted to build a dream home there.
The carpenter was bitterly disappointed at the small bonus, but his last building fee would help him buy a small cottage, so he agreed to build the dream house.
The carpenter had always prided himself on his uncompromising commitment to quality, but resentment over this last job caused him to cut corners, ignore details, and accept shoddy workmanship from other workers. He even looked the other way when some of them substituted cheaper materials and pocketed the difference.
When the house was finished, the builder shook the carpenter's hand and, with a huge smile, gave him an envelope with a thank-you card and a folded piece of paper. The carpenter was disdainful until he unfolded the paper and found the deed to the house he had just built.
The carpenter was ashamed to have misjudged his old friend and betrayed his own values, and he was remorseful that the house he would live in for the rest of his life had been made so carelessly.
Our character is the house we live in and it's built piece by piece by our daily choices. Deceit, irresponsibility, and disrespect are like shoddy workmanship. Whenever we put in less than our best and ignore our potential for excellence, we create a future full of creaky floors, leaky roofs, and crumbling foundations.
by Michael Josephson