Oct 2007 Character Quality -- Thoroughness
the following editorial article was written by Gloria Cooper for publication in The Paris News --
A woman bent over a sewing machine, in the final stages of making a new pair of jeans.  Her
young son bounced excitedly as he watched her. He could not understand why she had to sew
all those other seams.  “When will you be done?” he asked impatiently for the tenth time. “When
I am finished,” she responded as she folded down another seam.  “But it already looks done.” he
answered.  The mother knew, however, that unless she was thorough in her work, the jeans
would soon fall apart.  

Thoroughness is, “knowing what factors will diminish the effectiveness of my work or words if
neglected”.  How well we do a job is much more important than how quickly we do it.  Take a
difficult cleaning job, for instance.  If we only clean the surface and declare it complete, the job
suffers - as well as others who will eventually have to clean up after us. One who is thorough
understands the importance of taking the extra time to follow through. Someone once said, “Do
a job as if you will never have another chance to do it right.”  

In order for us to be thorough, we must develop certain skills.  We need to define our goals then
take practical steps to reach those goals. By laying out our expectations, we keep others and
ourselves from unnecessary frustration.  Just as a general never orders his men into combat
without first checking out the entire situation, so we should understand what is expected of us
before we begin.  Before, during and after, we must demonstrate humility by asking others for
their advice or opinions about the project.  This will ensure that we do what we are supposed to
do.  Finally and most importantly, a job is not finished until we clean up our work area.  Whether
it is electrical wires after a construction job, or pots and pans after a cooking project, we should
never leave our mess for someone else to clean up.

Being thorough, however, is not an excuse for going over a time limit.  Rather, it is an
opportunity to build creativity – how can I finish this job in the time I have to do it?  If necessity is
the mother of invention, then we who always need more time should be the world's greatest

As with every quality we put into practice, the sense of fulfillment we get for a job well done is
more than worth the work we put into it.  Let us practice thoroughness in our homes, work
places, and lives, and we will see what a dynamic effect it will have on our work, our family and
our relationships.
Portions of this article have been adapted from Character First! material.  For more information about the
Character First! program and resources contact:  Character Training Institute, 520 W. Main Street, Oklahoma
City, OK  73102,  (405) 815-0001. Visit the Character Council of Red River Valley at
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