But God did start preparing me for leadership at a very early age. I suspect it might have been by His inspiration, but I was often involved in some scheme to make money, which taught me about initiative, ingenuity, courage, and self sufficiency. There were great leadership lessons and lasting life lessons to be learned for a child trying to make money around the neighborhood in those days. You couldn’t be timid with adults if you wanted to make money. You had to be respectful but bold as brass. We might pester our neighbors for any grass cutting, leaf raking, or other yard work for a couple of dollars. Or my friend and I might walk up to the strip mall fronting Bankhead Highway at the end of our block where there were a few shops that would allow kids to do quick, simple chores for a quarter or two. Also, I was lured in by the appeal of the commonplace ads in the back of comic books in those days which promised big money to young men willing to sell door-to-door whatever “lucrative” product their company offered. These ads, of course, competed for space with the Charles Atlas ads which promised to turn any young man into a muscular hulk, someone to be respected and feared.
Several times, I answered the ads for selling products, sending off for boxes of packets containing greeting cards, Christmas cards and gift tags, or flower and vegetable seeds, depending on the season. I would sell my wares in neighborhoods near my home, knocking on the doors of complete strangers without any fear whatsoever. I was about 9 or 10 at the time. God must have been with me because I know that there were child predators even in those days. Anyway, I would give a big smile, quickly rattling off my well-honed sales speech, and, in most cases, I would successfully make a sale. I guess the sight of such a young lad with boldness, an engaging smile, good manners, and colorful personality would disarm most of the curmudgeons who would not normally have relinquished their money to a stranger at the door. In any case, these ventures were always successful. I always sold out my supplies. Then I would keep my part of the money and send the rest back to the company.
Another easy way to get money in those days was to collect glass soda bottles along the road that the refined citizens of our town would throw out of their car windows, probably for the very purpose of redistributing their wealth to the less fortunate. In those days, the price of most sodas included a five cent deposit for the bottle in which it was contained. If the customer didn’t bring back his or her bottles, perhaps throwing them out the car window, the bottle would still be worth five cents to any poor slob (or bright young man) that was willing to put in the time walking a few miles through the weeds on the side of the road looking for these treasures. Ironically, the deposit was probably supposed to discourage such littering, but sometimes you really cannot legislate morality.
I pray that your day will be blessed with His loving, comforting presence and that you will rest peacefully this evening.