We often overlook the little details that play a part in making a huge difference.
MY regular contractor probably does not appreciate me hovering around when he is doing his work. But he does on occasion explain certain procedures to me.
This self-taught man is quite incredible because he does much of the work himself. He is as comfortable laying bricks as he is in fixing the plumbing. But his creativity truly comes to life when you show him a design from an interior decor magazine and he is able to bring it to reality.
I watched him use a plumb line recently. This simple device consists of a weight attached to the end of a string and is used to determine verticality or depth.
It ensures that a wall that is being built is straight because our eyes alone will not give an accurate picture.
If a contractor seeks to build a structure that is sound, this initial step of using the plumb line cannot be bypassed. It is a small but necessary step in laying foundations for bigger accomplishments.
In a world where we only look at results and magnify achievements, we often do not recognise that it is the small beginnings that eventually lead to great things.
And this is true not only in tangible matters like an iconic building or a big-brand business, but also in the way we shift societal values or grow movements that touch the lives of many people.
I was listening to a dear friend share about her community work in an African country recently and the phrase “small beginnings” kept cropping up.
As she went through the whole gamut of tasks that she has been involved in over the past two years working among refugees under very harsh and difficult conditions, it hit me that what she sees as a “small beginning” is such a “gigantic task” for someone like me.
But with her usual joyful disposition, she talked about the need to prepare the ground for those who will come after her.
She is focused on the journey rather than on results.
Why should we despair the small beginnings, she asks, simply because we cannot see the big conclusions?
In the recent general election, many people stepped forward to volunteer as polling and counting agents.
The good citizen willing to offer his time will probably not even be remembered by the MP or ADUN who recruited him in the first place.
But in his own small ways, he has been part of the small beginnings that herald a more involved citizenry in the public space to protect our institutions and help make the country better.
And that is certainly something that should give us hope for better tomorrows.
Soo Ewe Jin (email@example.com), who still considers his years at home as a full-time father the best years of his career, wishes all fathers Happy Fathers Day. The STAR Online Sunday Starter 16 Jun 2013