As mentioned yesterday, during my childhood, I and my friends would often earn money various ways, including collecting soda bottles from the sides of roadways for the five cent deposit.  We would return these bottles to the local grocery store where the bottles could be redeemed.  As with the soda bottle collecting, any child in those days could get a fair amount of spending money quickly with just a little initiative, imagination, perhaps courage, and the willingness to work.  The biggest step I took in earning money, though, which was a pretty big one for a thirteen year old boy, was to land a regular job at a short-order barbecue restaurant in our town, the Big Horn Ranch. I got the job by hounding the manager three weeks in a row.  The first time I asked if he had any work, he told me that he had no openings.  So, I returned a week later to ask the same question and got the same answer.  But when I returned for a third week, my persistence broke through to the man, and he relented, giving me the job. 

He had probably not run into too many young men as persistent as I was.  I had learned this persistence in my various other commercial ventures as I tried to earn spending money the previous few years.  But it was probably this character trait of mine that told the man all he needed to know about my reliability as a worker, so he finally gave me a job.  I kept this job for two years, working about 20 to 30 hours a week, a few hours after school and a much longer shift on Saturday.  I would bus the tables, sweep and mop floors, wash dishes, make tea in big plastic containers for the customers, pick up trash around the parking lot, clean the restaurant windows, and anything else that the manager, a retired state trooper, could think of.  Eventually, he started putting me on the counter to fill orders and to work the cash register, and from there, he even trained me on the grill in back as I will fill in for the short-order cook from time to time.   Every so often, the manager would reward my diligent, hard work with small raises in my pay.  It was good money for a boy of my age in those days, and I was learning many leadership and life lessons from this job, taking on tremendous responsibility for such a young man. 

Moreover, with that money, I was able to buy anything I wanted, including the cool clothes that most people were wearing, the latest records (or 8-track tapes J) of my favorite groups, tickets to the movies, the roller rink, or to Six Flags over Georgia, and even gifts for my girlfriends.  And I always seemed to have a girlfriend, although the relationships in those days among young teenagers would usually just last a few weeks or a few months at the most.  But I had been very precocious when it came to the opposite sex from about the age of five.  I think that was the first time that I kissed a girl.  It was on the playground at our church-run kindergarten in New Orleans, and I think her name was Colleen.  Her father was a local celebrity on television, but I didn’t care about the money.  I only wanted the girl J.  I would continue to have various girlfriends over the years until I enlisted in the Army at the age of 18.  I kept one girlfriend while I was overseas in Germany, corresponding with her numerous times, and I would date her whenever I returned from my tour overseas, but we eventually broke up toward the end of my enlistment. 

After I got out of the Army, I went to work for United Parcel Service (UPS), loading trucks, and enrolled in college, using my VA education benefits to fund my classes.  It was there that I met my last girlfriend, a fairly serious relationship (at least it was on my part).  I fell hard for her, and it was very painful for me when I came to the conclusion that she was not good for me spiritually (my walk with God was becoming closer and more serious), so I broke up with her.  It was a traumatic experience for me, but I was trying to set standards in my life that would put God first in all things, even my relationships with girls and with family. Although I dated a few more girls, that first college girlfriend was my last serious relationship before I finally met my future wife in December 1984.


I pray that God will let your light shine to all those around you wherever you may encounter people in your life. 
 


Comments

10/29/2016 4:59am

I loved this blog due to its theme which is purely related to leadership. I think every person must go through this article to read some important lessons to know how to lead. This content is equally important for general tasks and military as well.

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The hard works are your best inspiration to continue your life. It will lead you to the unexpected things you've probably didn't wish for. And this leadership lessons are the results of all of your hard works. You should be thankful for all of the things you've experienced. It is because you are not what and who you are today.

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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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