Dirty Work… It’s Still Fashionable

May 3, 2023 | Ed Scharringa

Dirty Work… It’s Still Fashionable

Proverbs 14:23 “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads to poverty.”

When I was in my high school years in the 70s, we had two levels of education that one could follow: the academic courses or the business practice courses.

Fast forward many years later, I have met up with my former colleagues who were schooled in these business practice courses. Many have excelled in life with occupations in business operations or, as society calls it, working in the “dirty work line”. Electricians, plumbers, carpenters, excavators, construction workers, mechanics in light- and heavy-duty vehicles, and yes, let’s not forget agriculture and the many facets in that career path. Yes, some were privileged to have a family member or friend in a trade, or a farm to take over, but most started right from scratch.

What motivated many of these individuals? A passion, a vision, a hard work ethic, a goal that accomplishments are possible, and finally, not being afraid to get “dirty”. Yes, getting your hands and clothes dirty comes along with many of these occupations. Ask anyone who does this on a daily basis.

The Ontario school system has again recognized that we need to return to offering practical education. Starting in September 2024, high school students will be required to take one tech course to experience what it’s like to work with their hands in the trades. Mechanics, mining, farming, and farming support employment will all hopefully be included in this re-made educational program.

Where I am going with this… It’s not below one’s dignity to seek employment in the “dirty work” trades. Actually, these are becoming some of the best paid and rewarding careers one could choose. Trades, support services, and even farming are being recognized for their importance. Farming in agriculture or horticulture is a respected occupation for hard work in a sometimes-difficult scenario to succeed in producing products and food for all.

I believe that many young people will come to the foreground to take the challenge of working in the so-called “dirty work” trade occupation. We in agriculture need to encourage the next generation that it’s honourable to work in fields and abattoirs, as mechanics and veterinarians, and with flocks, herds, produce, florals, etc.

The verse from Proverbs says it well. Let us be diligent, intentional, and honour hard work; there’s a future, a promise with a blessing… God will bless the labour of our hands. It is still fashionable to do “dirty work”. God bless the choice of the labour of our hands.

Ed Scharringa is Board of Directors President for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard on CFCO Chatham, CKXS Chatham, CKNX Wingham, and CHLP Listowel.