Tradition is Important, but be Careful to not Lose Sight of the Why

It’s a Building Block in the Foundation…Not the Complete Project

Tradition, rituals and heritage seem to be the only things that matters…or don’t matter at all. It seems to be an all or nothing perspective. I think these opposing positions explain a lot about what’s going on in the world today…actually, ever since the beginning of time.

Most people are so stuck in their perspective and perception of who they are and what they believe that they can’t see beyond it. This is because that’s what they’ve been indoctrinated to believe. Or, in an effort to break away from that, they will believe only the opposite.

The important thing in either case is to ask why!

Tradition is an inherited, established or customary pattern of thought, action or behavior. A belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical.

Rituals are an established form for a ceremony. An order of words prescribed, a ceremonial act or acts repeated in a regularly repeated precise manner.

Heritage is something that is transmitted or acquired from a predecessor. Something that is possessed as a result of one’s natural situation or birth.

These things are critically important to who we are as individuals, families, communities, religions, states and countries.

The problem is blindly following without knowing why.

This is like the young lady cutting the end off a ham as she prepared to cook it. Her husband seeing her do this, asks why she was wasting good ham? She pauses and say’s “That’s the way Momma always did it.”

So, they call her mom and ask why she cut the end off the ham. Mom replied, “That’s the way my mom did it.

After hanging up from Mom they called Grandma and asked her why she cut the end off the ham when she cooked it? Grandma said, “So that it would fit in the pan.”

This is a good example of what happens when we get stuck doing things the way they’ve always been done, without asking why.

This kind of blind following is apparent in Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 when the Pharisees and teachers of the law question Jesus about His followers not following the Jewish traditions. Jesus calls them hypocrites. He tells them they have stopped following God’s commands, preferring instead to follow man made rules.

They weren’t asking why.

Traditions are a building block in the foundation…not the complete project.

We need to ask questions, gather information, learn and understand. Then, only then, make an informed decision whether to follow a tradition, ritual or our heritage.

Don’t blindly cut the end off the ham.

The Why Question is the Most Important One That Gets Asked the Least

WHY is That… and What Do We Do About it?

As I’m working on the workshop for Building a Better Proposal system, I was contemplating WHY questions.

Why –

  • Should construction contractors do proposals?
  • Don’t they?
  • Does a customer want to do a construction project?
  • Do we do the same things over and over expecting different results?
  • Do people in horror movies repeat the same bad decisions?

Small children constantly ask the why question, over and over and over…? You know what I mean. This is how they learn. Why do we outgrow this sense of curiosity and stop asking the WHY questions?

The answer to all questions starts with WHY.

  • Why should construction contractors do proposals?

This question is the one that baffles me as much as any. How can contractors expect customers or production crews to know what work is going to be done and what it’s going to cost without some clear communication? I don’t think you would buy a truck without knowing what you were getting. I know I would be disappointed if I ordered a new $70,000 truck and when I got it, it was a 1999 ½ ton pickup missing a wheel and the driver’s door.

  • Why don’t contractors do proposals?

The most common answer to this question is that they simply don’t know how. This is something that just isn’t taught. Most contractors start out doing construction, not paperwork. They figure out some guesstimation process and then wonder why customers are upset when they get a bill that is higher than they expected for less work.

  • Why does this customer want to do this construction project?

This should be the primary question that a contractor gets the answer to. It is more important than what. The “what” answer has a “why” answer behind it. The why question doesn’t have to be asked directly, but regardless, needs to be answered. The why is the foundation for the customer’s dream. A foundation is critical to building construction projects and dreams.

  • Why do we do the same things over and over expecting different results?

We all do this to some degree. Why? Why do we continue to repeat things thinking it will be different this time? We shouldn’t do things just because… “we’ve always done it this way”. The more we walk back and forth in a rut the deeper it gets and the harder it is to get out. I heard it said once that a rut is just a grave with both ends kicked out. Stop walking and determine if this what you want and if it’s the best plan. If not do something different.

  • Why do people in horror movies repeat the same bad decisions?

This question is a fun example of the previous one. If you’ve ever watched any horror movie you’ve seen this. The teenagers are in a dark scary place and instead of getting out they continue to hide in a basement, an attic, a cemetery, etc. The GIECO “horror movie” commercial is a great example of this.

It’s up to us to decide, are we going to do something different or stay in the rut?

These are just a few questions about construction proposals and…horror movies. 😊 We should be asking the WHY question about everything. This is the most important question there is.

We have the choice. We can just keep doing things the same way…or we can stop and ask why. Why are we doing this? Whatever “this” is. Until we answer the why question all other questions are harder to answer.

Be like a child and ask, why…why…why…why… and never stop.

What Does It Mean to Be Successful?

It’s Not What People Normally Think

Success, true success is anything but normal. Dave Ramsey says, “If You want to succeed, you’ve got to be weird.” It is hard to be different. Standing out and being different opens us up to criticism and ridicule. It’s much easier and safer to blend in and go with the flow. To just be normal.

God doesn’t want us to be normal. He made each of us different and unique (Psalm 139:14) and put each of us here for a specific purpose (Romans 8:28). It is up to us to search out and learn what our individual purpose is.

Discovering our true purpose is success.

Normally success is seen as fortune and fame. Even the definition of success includes, “The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status.” If we see these things as success and don’t accomplish them, we see ourselves as failures. We are only failures when we stop seeking our true purpose. So, we’ve got to hang in there.

The world’s idea of success is short sighted and selfish. It’s about what’s in it for me. God’s idea of success is different. It’s about using the skills and abilities I’ve been given to help others. Specifically, in my case, to help others build their dreams.

So, how do we figure out what our purpose is? First, ask that very question. What is my purpose? And then we ask it again and again… Asking the question is the first step to success. The question is more important than the answer. Asking this question is necessary to start. Then we can dig deeper with more questions. If we don’t ask questions we will stay stuck in the mundane routine of doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different outcome.

These questions start with the most common question asked by kids…WHY.

Why am I here?

Somewhere along the way, in an effort to be normal, we quit asking why. As children we are naturally curious. If we want to be successful, we need to get back to that childlike curiosity.

The why question is where we dig down deep to find the solid foundation that our success will be built on.

After asking why, comes what, how, when, who, where. Asking these questions is hard. Almost as hard as reading the 5Ws out of their normal order. But then we are trying to be successful, not normal. The order I have them in is more appropriate when it has to do with success. The most important thing is to be intentional about asking questions in whatever order works. Asking questions opens our mind up to new ideas.

The answers to these questions won’t magically appear once they’ve been asked. Being successful and finding our purpose is not an end unto itself. Both are a process of seeking answers and should continue as long as we’re alive. There is not some point in life when we arrive at our final destination (like retirement). Success is the process of seeking our purpose and as long as we’re breathing, we should be asking questions.


How Do I Know If I Need A Storm Door?



Reasons for and Against Storm Doors


I’ve had the storm door conversation several times recently. It’s a common discussion I’ve had many times. I always ask the why question, when customers are considering the installation of storm doors. Most people assume that having a storm door is just a given…I mean shouldn’t everybody have a storm door?

Historically storm doors were installed like storm windows. Both were an effective added layer of protection for old drafty doors and single pane windows. With the changes that have been made to doors, windows, weather stripping, sealants and finishes the need for storm doors or windows has become somewhat of a moot point.


Start by asking WHY before blindly moving forward and installing a storm door.


Why do I want/need a storm door? Is it for protection against the elements, visibility, ventilation, security, appearance or do I just want one.


Reasons for:

  • Protection against the elements – If you have an older draftier entry door, then a storm door can be simple way to get an added layer of protection against the rain, snow and wind.


  • Visibility – If you like opening the entry door to see outside. There are a variety of storm door styles, full view, ¾ and ½ glass that allow you to see out and get natural light in.


  • Ventilation – If you like opening the entry door to get fresh air in without bugs. Here again there are different ways to get storm doors for this purpose. Some the glass and screen are exchanged. One common style has a half screen and one pane of glass slides up and down. A newer style has a screen that rolls up out of the way until you slide the glass.


  • Security – It adds an additional layer that someone would have to get past to get in. Keep in mind that storm doors are not designed as a security system.


  • Appearance – There are some storm doors that offer decorative glass that can enhance the way the house looks.


Reasons against:

  • Wind catchers – Storm doors are notorious for being caught by the wind and getting sprung or twisted and the closers being bent and/or pulled out of the jamb.

  • Adjustment – Storm doors are difficult to get adjusted from the beginning. When the entry door is shut and the storm door closes and latches properly then the storm door will slam when the entry door is open. If the storm door is adjusted to shut and catch when the entry door is closed, then the storm door won’t latch when the entry door is closed. This is caused by the building up of air pressure between the two doors.


  • Inconvenient – Opening a storm door and holding it while opening the entry door when carrying things can be difficult.


  • Damaging the finish of the entry door – This seems contradictory to protection against the elements. When the entry door is located where there is exposure to direct sunlight (especially the east and west sides) the glass in the storm door works like as magnifying glass and can cook the finish of the entry door. This is especially true with stained fiberglass doors.


Things usually start out being done for a specific reason and over time that reason gets lost in the normalcy of whatever that thing is. Installing a storm door without thinking through the reasons for and against is one of those things.

So, how do I know if I need a storm door? Ultimately this is a question only you can answer, but I hope this week’s solution helps.


If you have questions about storm doors or other construction projects that you would like answered, contact us in the comment section below.

Avoid Feeling Like a Sardine in a Tiny House

Thinking Outside the Box to Allow for Living in a Can


The tiny house epidemic has gone crazy. I understand the whole idea of living simply and downsizing. I even find the challenge of figuring out how to get the most function out of the small space fascinating.

There’s no question that most of us have more stuff than we need. But why would anyone want to live in a house the size of a single room? I don’t think this fad will last long, but for now it is a part of the landscape.

My concern with this tiny house phenomena is that people are following like sheep, without considering where they’re going or what they’re doing.

The question that needs to be asked, is the same one that I ask all my customers when we are discussing construction projects. “Why?” Why do you want, or need to do this project? Once the “why” question is answered, then we can move on to the what, the how and the when questions.

I am in the preliminary stages of working with my niece Hannah, on a ‘small home’. This is not to be confused with a tiny house. A house is generally considered tiny when it is less than 500 square feet and this project is going to be a mansion by tiny house standards. It is going to be closer to 750 square feet.

One of the whys for this project is that she is a young architectural designer working for Agora Architecture and you know how architects are…always looking to do something different and out of the ordinary. Not that there is anything wrong with different and out of the ordinary. On the contrary different and out of the ordinary are great whys.

The what is where things get a little trickier. We will blame the what on her Mom, my sister, who found a picture online of a couple of steel grain bins that had been turned into a house. It just so happens that there is an unused one on their property. So, the two of them have determined that it would make a great house.

It’s not a big one, 13’-6” in diameter and 7’-6” at the eave. As the out of the box thinking continued it was remembered that one of our brothers has an old grain bin that hasn’t been used in years and it’s bigger, 18’-0” in diameter and 12’ at the eave. We plan to move the bigger one a few miles to the job site and the two bins will become the root of a new home.

Hannah and I are both going to be sharing this project going forward. This will be done simultaneously from two different views, hers as the designer and mine as the builder. She is going to blog about it at and you can come back here to get my perspective.

If you have any questions about this out of the box, small home project or would like to discuss your own out of the box or for that matter an in the box project, send a comment below.