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Old school

“I have never seen a workman as skilled as my father. His unboastful confidence in what he could do impressed me as much as his achievements. He was so at ease with his materials and always so respectful of their nature that they seemed in friendship with him, as though consenting to his touch rather than subjugated by him… this extended beyond his ironwork. As an expression of gratitude to a woman who had been kind to him he made a beautiful lace curtain, the lace included… He repaired almost everything… A superb welder, his reputation spread among the farmers in the region [upstate Victoria].  When they brought him something to weld he said, ‘If this breaks, it will not break where I weld. It will break somewhere else.’ Invariably he was right… From him I learned the relation between work and character. His sense of the importance of work and of its moral and spiritual requirements was simple and noble… If there was a fault, he accepted responsibility because he believed that it was the duty of an honest person to do so. It was inconceivable that he should do so because, for example, it would rebound on him if he did not… He regarded such prudential justifications… as shabby. The refusal of such justifications was for him… the mark of our humanity… He was deeply gratified that his work, and he through it, should become respected. Many times he told me that there are few things more important than a good name. Again, his reasons were not prudential.” – Raimond Gaita, Romulus, My Father (as quoted by Sophie-Grace Chappell in “Rôles and Reasons” (ellipses in original))

Published inEconomicsSophie-Grace Chappell

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