Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Build Him Up


Papaw Wade

I don’t know if the phrase build him up would be considered Appalachian or not. I do know using the word build in terms of encouraging your fellow man is common in my area of Appalachia. Maybe its because religion plays such a major role in the lives of the people here. Building up a house (temple) or tearing down a house (temple) literally or symbolically definitely has a Biblical connotation.

The other day I was talking to a gentleman I work with and the subject of our conversation was building people up.

If there was a book showing an example of an Appalachian man my friend’s picture would be one of the first in line. He fits all the characteristics given to Appalachians.

He is: friendly to those he knows reserved with those he doesn’t, respectful to all, one of the absolute hardest workers I have ever seen, knowledgeable beyond belief, he can fix anything that needs fixing and take care of anything that needs taking care of, he doesn’t put up with no bull from anyone but goes out of his way to lend a helping hand to those in need, he regularly dines on bear, turtle, and all manner of canned goods he and his family put up from their garden, and along with all that, he builds people up on a daily basis.

All over the world you run into people who are builder uppers and people who are more likely to point out your faults. Even in my own family you can find both varieties. Pap, like my friend at work, was a total builder of men…Granny not so much. While Pap offered up the gentlest form of corrective encouragement you’ll find on the face of this earth (IF he was asked for it) Granny is more likely to stand over you and point out what you’re doing wrong-sometimes even before you get it done!

Is Granny mean spirited? Not at all. She genuinely sees nothing wrong with telling someone what they should or shouldn’t be doing and how they should or shouldn’t be doing it.

I cringe when I hear someone offering unsolicited advice or direction to someone. I know you’ve heard the old saying “opinions are like bellybuttons; everyone has one.” I have one, actually I have lots of opinions, but I have never felt the need to go around spouting them out unless asked about them. Worrying about myself has always kept me busy leaving no time to even ponder telling somebody else what I think about their business or how they should conduct it.

Like my friend and Pap, I try to have my feet planted firmly in the camp of the builder uppers and such is the way of life that everyone else doesn’t.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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  • Reply
    lynn legge
    March 17, 2018 at 6:58 am

    tipper I love your soulful a child out of 7 I found it best to observe…and then you can see what reactions the others got to their antics. but mostly I am one who never likes to speak harshly..and find that a smile and kind word is priceless.
    I think you are perfect as you are. just look to your children and friends and you can know what a shining example of humility you are,
    have a peaceful weekend
    love and big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    March 16, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Pap was a Gentle Soul and I miss him too. My daddy was kinda like that, but mama voiced her opinion real quick if she heard someone telling about something that happened recently and cussed or said something out of the way. Love the Blind Pig and the Acorn! …Ken

  • Reply
    March 16, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    The favorite saying of one of my grandpas was, “I have to much trouble with the fellow that wears my hat. I don’t have time to worry about the other people.”

  • Reply
    aw griff
    March 16, 2018 at 11:47 am

    Tipper, I don’t know if that Appalachian or not, but that’s what I’ve heard all my life.
    I agree with Papaw and I say the same thing.

  • Reply
    Allison B
    March 16, 2018 at 10:58 am

    Seems like I’ve been thinking exactly along the lines of this post for the past week or 2. How opinions are every where and one can get so tired of hearing anothers… unless the words are to build-him-up. Those words fitly are gold. Glad of your reminder. Sometimes I think of them as being more common in Appalachia, but maybe it’s just because that’s where my roots are.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2018 at 10:27 am

    “If you can’t be kind, be quiet.”

  • Reply
    March 16, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Once again I revert to my motto. “Everybody is better than me except those who think they are!” If everybody thought along those lines, we would all get along just fine.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 16, 2018 at 9:18 am

    What you posted today is so very different from what we can see and hear on a daily basis, especially on TV. The tearing down folks are loud and pushy. Lots of barking and growling going on.

    I used to have an opinion about any subject that came up. Somehow it seems to be a common human failing to believe our opinions are always of value. Then I grew up enough (about middle age) to realize I was not entitled to have one worth mentioning when I knew little about the subject. The older I get, the less I have to say. But it hurts to see people doing things and thinking things that are going to hurt them in the long run. Still, we all know folks won’t accept correction or advice until the time is right; the “word fitley spoken” the Bible mentions.

    Somebody should start a “Builder-Upper” show. There used to be that kind that had lessons about character and integrity.

    Thanks for today. They truly are fit words for me.

  • Reply
    milner smith
    March 16, 2018 at 9:07 am

    some days you lift my spirits, like today.

  • Reply
    Ann Appplegarth
    March 16, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Absolutely! I’m so grateful for all the builders in my life, and I hope and pray that I am one, too.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2018 at 8:22 am

    We need more builder uppers. Nothing quite as good as when you are feeling a little awkward or downcast and somebody points out a good quality. We all need that. I made a conscious effort many years ago to not point out or mention the bad habits and hindrances another might have on the job. This served me well, because if they were a “problem child” management soon noticed and took care of it. This was not a natural thing for me to do, but took some restraint on my part knowing it was the proper thing to do. Far from being perfect, however, I am quick to retaliate if somebody is being deliberately downright rude, especially if it is to my family or a friend. My Dad, like your Pap, was a good and wise teacher, and most people enjoyed his company. People like that can get you on the right track so gently you don’t even realize it.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 16, 2018 at 8:00 am

    Interestingly, my mother did both, at different times, the result of that seemed to be the that the negative was stronger and cancelled out the positive.
    I know the man you were talking about, not because you told me but because I’ve met him and know him as a really sweet spirit in this world…and there are few like him and like Pap!
    There is an old saying, “If you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all.”

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    March 16, 2018 at 7:37 am

    Well said, Tipper! I love the building up too and I very much believe it does our souls good to be about the work of building up rather than tearing down.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2018 at 5:31 am

    Interesting observation, my Wife and I have talked about the personalities of folks, one pair of Sisters comes to mind, in their older age their personalities stuck and did not waver any, one was easy going, kind, soft spoken, the other right the opposite, and others we’ve observed, my Mamaw on my Mothers side was always opinionated, didn’t mind telling you what was on her mind, my Mamaw on my Dad’s side right the opposite, she never raised her voice in all the years I knew her, she kept to herself and her opinion of others was locked away some where deep inside, I quess everyone is cut from the same cloth, but some are sewed different patterns than others.

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