Key to Mowing and Life Itself: Make Every Stroke Count!

Posted by Matt on May 9th, 2009 filed in life, Parenting

dad on tractor

After many days of rain, we finally got some sunshine.  You know what that means… time to mow the lawn!  Ugh!!! I hate mowing the yard.  When I was a kid, I dreaded mowing our 1/2 acre yard.  Dad would get out there on the riding lawn mower getting most of it.  I would take the push mower and get everywhere else he could not reach.  It was a lot of pulling and pushing.  I would throw fits and take forever doing it…I still do !!!!

My dad, like everything else, found a way to use this as an opportunity to teach me a life lesson.  I swear my dad was a real life Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid film.  He could use everyday chores to teach me something about life.  Anyways, Dad was done doing his part of the lawn and I had been mowing but wasting a ton of time.  I would go over the same places twice (not on purpose) and zig zag everywhere.  I was really rough on the mower and just lost my temper all the time.

Dad was peddling in the garage when I finally finished.  He had a big glass of ice water waiting for me and asked me if I would sit down for a minute.  “Son, thank you so much for mowing for me. ”  I frowned right before taking a huge gulp of water.  “You know, Son, I cannot help but notice that you get frustrated out there.  Can we talk about that for a minute?”  Dad was really good at asking me if it was a good time to talk about anything.  I know now just how important that is to do before talking to anyone about issues, hurts, etc.


“I guess, Daddy” I gasped.  I did not want to get a lecture on how bad of a mower I was or how rough I was being.  “Well, Matt, I wanted to see if you would be interested in not taking so long to mow?” he smiled.  “Of course!” I said.  “The most important thing in mowing a yard, Matt, is making every stroke with that mower count.  Meaning that every time to push or pull it, grass should be getting cut.  No going over the same area twice or wasting a lot of energy and time going every which way but the right way.  Create a pattern where you can absolutely cut grass on every stroke.  Again, make every stroke count.”

“I do not know how to do that, Dad.”  “That is what I am here for Son.  To help and teach.  I tell you what… next time we mow, I will help you see the pattern and see what happens.”  Sure enough, two weeks later, I watched Dad do my part in half the time it normally took me.  There was no struggling…no guessing if I missed any areas. As we were taking the push mower around to the garage, Dad put his arm on my shoulder. “Son, what do you think?” he said.  “Thanks, Dad.  You made it look so easy.”  The next time we mowed, I did it the fastest time ever!!!

Today as I pulled out my own push mower, I thought of this memory.  I decided to put it into practice and got done in half the time!!!  Now obviously this blog is not about how to mow a yard.  But Dad’s words of wisdom with mowing actually applies to living.  How much of your life are you wasting?  How many times do you have to make the same mistake over and over again?  Life is short.  Make the decisions that you have been putting off.  Lost your job?  Get out there and keep pushing forward.  Not spending time with your family?  Stop wasting life away.

Make every stroke count!!!!  Tiger Woods also endorses this message 🙂 .


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