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Patriotic Designs & Developing Independence

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Life as a small business owner tends to be a blur. In fact, I would argue that EVERYBODY's life, from personal to professional bleeds over to the other. They are inextricably linked. I often stroll through our shop and think about my family, walk the dogs with my son Dominic and think about what's going on at PAVERART. I bet I'm not unique in that regard....

I've said it a number of times: Our PAVERART Military designs really hit me in the feels!

The Brad Pitt line in the great movie Moneyball always goes off in my head:

"It's hard not to be romantic about Baseball." And I feel the same way about all things Military/USA in our business.

So I get a little giddy when these designs get cleaned in our shop. Here are a couple of recent PAVERART designs with the Patriotic Feel.

This Custom Flag Design is being shipped to our friends in Arnold, MO, and it's a component of a larger design. Like all of our work, we are excited to see the final installation.

flag kit, paverart flag design, patriotic collection
PAVERART Custom Flag Kit

We've talked about this Compass Rose with Custom Engraving in THIS POST previously, and why not re-share?

compass rose, engraving, military designs, paverart
Custom Compass Rose & Engraving

What was more inspiring than the design is the relationship we formed with our client, a Class A individual.

Joe captured so many themes in less than 2 minutes:





Purpose over "identity."

I think about "INDEPENDENCE" a lot. If there were a defining list of the top 10 traits of what it means to be American, hard to imagine this word does not make the cut.

A few random observations:

  • Dominic did very well in his sophomore year in high school, high honor roll, straight A's. Yes, proud dad. Our town publishes the Honor Roll & High Honor Roll recipients in the local paper.

The other day as I'm glancing over the article, I couldn't help but notice, the 9th - 12th grade honor roll took an entire page of the paper. So what does any curious person do? Well, they start counting. I counted up well over 200 names in the 10th grade. I'm guesstimating that the class has a total enrollment of 300-350. I'd be lying if the term "GRADE INFLATION" was not top of mind.

Was 2/3's of the 1992 class on the honor roll? I doubt it.

Does this diminish the accomplishment? I don't think so.

But does 2/3's of a class achieving Honor Roll status represent the "real world" of excellence? It does not.

10-20% in the real world is where the exceptional lie. Ask any employee at a large corporation what their annual raise is.......what their performance rating is.......2/3's PLUS will NOT get exceptional.

Next observation.

The school paper publishes every graduating senior and what their post-high school plans are. 300+ graduates self-report. I counted up about 296 that reported COLLEGE. The other 4?

3 reported: "Entrepreneurship."

1 notated: "Travel."

99% choose one path post-high school, the traditional College path. Not exactly what I would call "Independent thinking!" How can such an extraordinariliy high % choose this path? Simple. UNRELENTING Parental and ADMINISTRATION Pressure. Combined with lack of critical thinking of alternatives. And......lack of real world experience.

The Supreme Court just struck down the Executive order Granting $10,000-$20,000 student loan borrowers "forgiveness" from college loans. Millions of borrowers are upset, and I can understand why. Many were counting on the extra breathing room.

A couple of factoids from an informative article:

  • The average student loan payment per month = $503 per borrower

  • The average borrower takes 20 years to repay their student loan debt

  • Article link below

I wonder: IF college was such a golden ticket and great return on investment, why is student debt such a problem?

At the heart of Independence, there's a trait that's pretty important: COURAGE. The ability and confidence to form your OWN beliefs, opinions and point of view that you are confident to stand on. This gets easier with age and maturity.

In the video clip above, Joe talks about TEAM, and dealing with a collective danger. Literally, people's "pedigree," size, shape and color became irrelevant. Their collective goal (survival) becomes paramount. The purpose trumps all.

Last observation:

Every year in the month of June I see multiple parents posting on the local Facebook pages looking for job opportunities for their teenage kids. The statistics tell us that ONLY 25% of teenagers WORK in the summer, so these by no means are the majority. Such a massive missed opportunity when teenagers choose PLAY vs. working.

Working. It's the muscle that will be in motion for 45+ years of a person's life. It's where the real-world principles are learned, paychecks are captured, and tough choices and evaluations are made. A few other things about WORK:
  • "A"s are not handed out like candy. The EXCEPTIONAL are few and far between

  • You don't make the high honor roll for just showing up and doing the minimum

  • You are often surrounded by OTHERS that are MORE experienced, talented, productive. Do you want to earn their respect? Get to work, learn, ask questions. PERFORM.

This is the real world. The quicker people get into it, struggle with it, learn from it the better. Many will argue that teenagers have their whole life ahead of them to WORK. I get it. Nobody ever regretted on their death bed working those extra hours, I will acknowledge that. I worked every year I can remember as a teenager. Do I regret any of them? Hell no. Do I know any other human who regretted working as a teenager? I do NOT.

Dominic enters his 5th year of summer work at PAVERART, before he enters his Junior year at High School. He has done plenty of work supporting our engraving segment, and all things video/content creation. But this year is different.

He said he wants something "more active" from a physical standpoint. That means working on our PAVERART side. He's "stretched out" (bottom right) and seeing some gains in physical health and thinks this is a double win, staying fit while working.

I see it differently, however.......

Paverart, engraving, apprenticeship
Dominic - 5th Year At PAVERART

What's different about working on PAVERART? Too many to list, but here are a few:

  • We have a decade+ plan manager & designer (Brian) on PAVERART. He knows everything there is to know about making PAVERART and keeping the shop running. From Paper to PAVERART and everything in between. Dom has interfaced with Brian from a design standpoint, but not in the operations area.

  • Mike - Dom has spent the most time with Mike, from our podcast and designs. But NOT on PAVERART operations.

  • John - John, screen name the Barbell Barbarian. Squats like 3x' his weight and equally as smart. Picked up our business faster than anyone. Multi talented.

  • Jonathan - New team player, very talented.

The PAVERART shop can be oppressive in July and August. 95 degrees + and humidity off the charts. The definition of HARD stuff.

He'll need to learn operations, assembly, and packaging. He'll screw up, start slow and be expected to improve.

We'll have designs of all shapes and sizes.

We don't give out High Honor Rolls at PAVERART for showing up. They are earned, and endorsed by players that have literally figured out how to make a small, specialized manufacturing operation survive and grow over 20 years.

Dominic will have a chance to be part of a team. To struggle. To ask questions. To sweat. Get dirty. He will succeed if his talent, grit, grind and hustle allow him too.

These are the experiences that form the building blocks of achievement. Of INDEPENDENCE. Independence of Thought. Choices. Experience. Futures.

Happy 4th of July. INDEPENDENCE DAY.

paverart compass rose flames
Compass Flames: Mike & Brian

PAVERART, Crazy cuts
The Barbell Barbarian: John!

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