It kind of seems like a no-brainer that taking pride in your stuff and keeping it in good shape is a reflection of a person’s character. Anyone with money can buy a fancy pair of leather footwear, but it takes character to roll up your sleeves, pull out your shoe shine kit and get to work making them look like brand new.
Whatever your opinions may be of the military, there’s a reason why a soldiers quality is reflected in how well he or she shines their boots. It says something about how well they will go about their other duties. Will they handle a task with patience, dedication and attention to detail, or will they do a slap dash, substandard job?
We’ll be the first to admit that we have a bit of an uphill battle against us. The days when everyone wore leather shoes and boots on a daily basis are in the past. Now sneakers, sandals, Vans and Crocs rule the day.
And you know what? We have nothing against that. It’s summertime and I’ll be wearing my own beat up, yet trusty, Columbia sandals most days. And there’s nothing like the feeling of your bare feet in the sand and the water when the chance permits.
Nevertheless, everyone needs at least one good pair of leather shoes or boots. Maybe it’s for that important job interview, a wedding (your own?) or a special get together with friends and family.
A good pair of well maintained leather shoes says something about you; that you care about your appearance and recognize there are times when what you wear can be a reflection of your mindset. Leather footwear, properly maintained, shows that you have respect for the occasion at hand, and respect for yourself and others.
It can seem sometimes like we live in a throwaway society. It’s easy to buy something on your credit card and if it breaks down or gets old you just buy a new one. But there was a time when people knew how to look after their possessions, how to properly maintain things, and fix them when they broke.
Granted, fast moving technology makes that kind of hands on attitude more difficult. It's not as easy to fix your own car now that they are mostly computerized, and it's tricky to repair your own Xbox if it breaks on you.
But you can damn well get a nice pair of shoes, shine them regularly and make them last forever. That’s one simple way to say that you are a person who recognizes the value in having things of quality and making them last. We’d like to think that if everyone did that, there would be a bit more character in the world.
If character is the sum of all the things you do, let shining your shoes be one of those things.