When the Seven Dwarfs from the classic movie Snow White went off to their day jobs in the diamond mines – as they blew a kiss to their favourite princess – they did so with a joy in their hearts while singing to a very distinct and catchy tune called “Hi-Ho Hi-Ho it’s off to work we go.” Then, as the jovial dwarfs dug away they sang “whistle while you work,” again another catchy little tune you find yourself humming to.
Some sing in the shower (well, let’s face it, the acoustics are pretty darn good in there). Some hum away as they focus on a hobby or while out for some exercise.
At Ottawa Innercity Ministries, we have 5 youth in our Work Skills program. Here they learn the basics of responsibilities and skills needed to prepare them for the work force. Under supervision and one-on-one mentorship, they strive to work towards the goals they’ve set for themselves.
Derrick is an active member of the program. Like clockwork he comes at his set time each and every week. He grabs his ‘to-do’ list waiting for him and just quietly begins what has been asked of him.
As the staff focus on our own daily expectations and responsibilities, the quietness of the building is quickly broken as Derrick puts on his headphones. He starts up his playlist and while he is working serenades us with his favourite tunes. The part I love the most about this is that Derrick doesn’t even realize he’s singing out loud. He’s just focused, relaxed and content in his surroundings.
Being in an old church with high ceilings, the acoustics in our building are very impressive. Beautiful melodies carry through the whole place regardless of where you are.
I may not always know the words to every song that Derrick sings, but I do often find myself tapping my pen or bouncing my knee to his voice.
I speak for the whole staff when I say that we wouldn’t trade Derrick’s “whistle while you work” energy during the week for anything, because adding music and finding joy in the simple things just seems to make the world, and work place a much better place to be in.