Good Work with Friends
October 25, 2017

“Indeed friends seem to become better by working together…”
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

There is something about good, hard work. You feel so alive, so purposeful. And when you work alongside people you love, you feel so alive and so purposeful together.

We do not always get to work alongside our friends and loved ones; it is something worth seeking out.

This past week we slaughtered two pigs here at our homestead. It took a tremendous amount of work, as it always does. I have had the honor and the joy through the years of slaughtering pigs with a number of different people.

I have a white-oak butcher board that I glued together for our first slaughter. Each year all who join in the work sign it. I love looking at those signatures, thinking of people, and of work, that won’t be forgotten.

Some aspects of work are painful, and are simply to be endured. And sometimes in our work we fail to be ourselves. But at the same time work has a unique power to forge a bond that cannot otherwise be forged: between family members, between neighbors, and between friends.

There are many different kinds of good work, some done more with our hands and some more with our minds. Blessings each. Working together can actually deepen friendship, precisely because it gives a unique context to do what friendship is most about: intentionally pursuing what is good, together.

So whether it is for nourishing our families with food, or for attending to a host of other human needs, may our work at least sometimes be a working-with those we love, and so be a way we grow closer to them as we grow into ourselves.

~ ~ ~

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), student of Plato, tutor of Alexander the Great, has been considered by many to be the greatest ancient philosopher. The Nicomachean Ethics is his major ethical work.

This gorgeous side of bacon…

…has everything to do with this being a windfall year for acorns…

Leave a Reply


  1. Once again, I am refreshed to read and renew my efforts to live life well! Thank you.

    1. Pat, You are so very welcome. Thank you.

  2. Do acorns fall every year? I remember something about acorns not falling each year.

    1. Julia,
      Great question. The number of acorns in the forest varies dramatically from year to year for several reasons. First of all, some trees only produce acorns every other year or so. Plus, the weather can affect how many are produced by those that are in a ‘production year.’ In the end, some years there can be barely any to be found, and then some years are like this year in my woods, where in parts of the woods you are likely to slip on all the acorns!

  3. Erin Patrick Hickey

    As usual, Doctor, thank you for great insight.

    1. You are very welcome!

  4. Intentionally pursuing what is good together…wonderful…and wow that is a great big side of BACON! My husband, Adam, hunts and some people don’t understand how it is not just about “killing an animal”…the experience and purpose of it all is much greater.

    1. Colleen, Thanks for noticing the bacon! Well at least your husband has YOU to appreciate him, and that is something to be grateful for! All the best to you both.

  5. Doctor Cuddeback,

    I thoroughly enjoy reading these article. Excellent insight for day to day life. Enjoy the slaughter! We will have to harvest and process a deer someday!

    1. Kirk, Thanks much. I’d love to do deer together some time. Best to your whole family.