Craftsmen’s Dilemma - Handling Insults and Disrespect

Many of us spend years perfecting our woodturning craft. We take a lump of wood destined for the firewood pile and create something beautiful out of a few thousand BTUs of biomass. Not everyone appreciates all of the study and persistence we have invested to get here. So, what are you going to do when you hear the inevitable “It is just something they made in their own little home workshop. I can’t believe they are asking that much money for something they made themselves.” Or, “It isn’t that hard. I could do it for $2 in material.”

As a designer, widget inventor and craftsman myself, I hear phrases like that all the time. If you didn’t already know, Sweet Janice and I are privileged to be vendors at an average of 20+ weekend events each year. We offer more than 100 items branded under my name. We hope that all are a good value and realize that most are not necessarily cheap. We will often encounter folks who think we should just give our merchandise away or at least cut the price in half. And, they sometimes tell us just that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, “No Thanks, I’ll make it myself.”

So what are you going to do? We don’t take it personally; it just goes with the territory. Those particular individuals are not customers for that item. We always wish them well and courteously ask if we can help with something else. We also understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion just like us.

I am reminded of a famous story:
There is a famous anecdote featuring Winston Churchill and the British politician Bessie Braddock… Supposedly Braddock encountered an intoxicated Churchill and said “Sir, you are drunk.” He replied: “And you, Bessie, are ugly. But I shall be sober in the morning, and you will still be ugly.”

My advice is to know who you are, that you are a valuable, skilled and talented craftsman or craftswoman and that you have been given special gifts by the God of all creation. Draw strength and encouragement from that knowledge.  Others may be blind, but you can see. Not everyone has the ability to understand the excellence of what you are able to create. If we stop to answer every barking dog along our journey, we will never get to where we want to go. I promise that right behind the insults someone else will come along and be absolutely blown away with your work. Shake the dust off your shoes and keep going because wherever you go, there you are.

Here is my inspiration for this week’s message:

Proverbs 15:1 NIV
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

1 Corinthians 6:20 KJV
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Matt 10:14 MSG
If they don't welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.  



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