Waiting for the Wind
My nephew’s 10-year-old son came for a visit one hot, July weekend. I was enticing him to stay inside by joining him in a Wii game. After being mercilessly defeated by a more experienced player, I suggested that we relax awhile. I collapsed into my favourite recliner to let my neck muscles relax and my ego recover from such a beating. He had slipped out of the room and I was catching a few relished moments of peace and quiet.
“Look, Alice,” he said enthusiastically as he ran over to the chair where I was recovering. “I found a kite. Could we go outside and fly it?”
Glancing out a nearby window, I noticed there was not a breeze stirring. “I’m sorry, Tripper,” I said, sad to see his disappointed eyes, but thankful for the respite from more activity. “The wind is not blowing today. The kite won’t fly.”
The determined 10-year-old replied. “I think it’s windy enough. I can get it to fly,” he answered, as he hurried out the back door.
I peeked through the slats in the Venetian blinds to watch determination in action. Up and down the yard he ran, pulling the kite attached to a small length of string. The plastic kite, proudly displaying a picture of Batman, remained about shoulder level. He ran back and forth, as hard as his ten-year-old legs would carry him, looking back hopefully at the kite trailing behind. After about ten minutes of unsuccessful determination, he came back in. I asked, “How did it go?”
“Fine,” he said, not wanting to admit defeat. “I got it to fly some.” As he walked past me to return the kite to the closet shelf, I heard him say under his breath, “I guess I’ll have to wait for the wind.”
At that moment I heard another Voice speak to my heart. “Sometimes you are just like that. You want to do it your way instead of waiting for the Wind.” And the voice was right. How easy it is to use our own efforts to accomplish what we want to do.
We wait for the Wind only after we have done all we can and have exhausted our own strength. We must learn how to rely on Him in the first place!
— Author Unknown
Meditation: Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! – Psalm 27:14
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
Where does your job start or end?
Recently, a business associate and I went to call on a retail customer, and we experienced one of the real challenges in visiting a very large regional shopping centre that is over 2km long, with in excess of 300 shops spread over three shopping levels. How do you find a store when you haven’t been to this shopping centre for some considerable period of time?
Well, when we first arrived at the centre and had parked our car, the first thing we did was look for a centre directory or the customer service desk, but without any success. As we weaved our way past a host of customers and shoppers who all seemed to be well aware of where they were going, out of the crowd appeared one of the shopping centre security officers. He was, as you may well expect, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and dark tie, with the shopping centre logo emblazoned on his jacket. He was holding a two-way radio handset with an earpiece and remote microphone in his ear, which obviously allowed him to speak to other security officers working in the centre at that time.
Seizing the opportunity to seek some assistance from someone who would no doubt know where the store was located, I approached him and asked for directions. He smiled at us both and indicated that the store was on the next level, only some 75 metres from where we were standing.
Before we could thank him, he added.
‘However, please allow me to show where it is.’
We thanked him but said that there was no need, as we would now be able to find it with the help of his directions. His immediate reply came as a real surprise to us both.
‘No not at all, please follow me, it is not very far and it is all just part of my job.’
Almost without realising it, we were walking with him and moved onto the travelator that took us to the next level of the shopping centre and the short walk to store. As we walked, he asked how our day had been and then added that it was a very busy day in the centre, mainly because it was school holidays. When we reached the store, we both thanked him for his courtesy and asked for his name.
He replied with a grin on his face, ‘my name is Rob and I suppose you could say that it is not such a great name, given the work that I do here as a security officer.’
We both laughed at his zany sense of humour and once again thanked him for his courtesy and great customer service. As he moved away, he replied for the second time, ‘it is a pleasure, all just part of my job.’
The visit to our retail customer lasted about 20 minutes and then we head back towards the car park, only this time we were more certain which way we had to go.
As we walked along the shopping mall level we came across the customer service desk which we could not find on our arrival at the shopping centre, so we stopped to speak to the customer service attendant at the counter. We asked if we could speak to the centre manager and was quizzed in a friendly manner about why we wanted to see him – our answer was that we wanted to give some feedback about a positive customer service experience we had just had. Sadly, the centre manager was not available; however, the customer service attendant suggested we could speak to the duty manager in charge of centre security. So we decided that we would go down to the security office located on the loading dock on the first level of the centre.
On arriving at the security office we were greeted by the duty manager who had a very apprehensive look on his face, which we concluded was due to the fact that when similar contact was made with him by members of the public, it was to lodge a complaint of some sort. When we told him we wanted to give some feedback about a great service experience offered by of one of his team members, his face changed to a positive expression as we went on to praise Rob for making our visit to the centre an enjoyable one. We asked him to pass on our thanks to Rob and make sure that the centre manager was made aware of what he had done for us.
As we left the office and walked back to our car, we both discussed the likelihood that our expression of appreciation would make its way back to Rob and to the centre manager. We agreed that whilst it would have been great if the praise was passed on to Rob we realised that he would have no doubt been the recipient of many other expressions of appreciation from other customers just like us, who had experienced Rob’s all part of my job attitude to his work. Whether other people would have taken the time express their appreciation to his boss as we did – is a matter of speculation, the fact that we did express it to Rob and then to his manager was all that mattered to us at the time.
There is little doubt in my mind that people like Rob don’t walk their talk selectively, it just isn’t in their nature to be obligingly beyond expectations to one or two people as he did with us and then not do the same with others. I am sure Rob’s job as a security officer is full of daily challenges with lot’s of not so good things to deal with, so no doubt doing what he did for us and I am certain many others, is more than likely the part of his job that makes his day just that more enjoyable and rewarding.
There can be nothing better in life than to offer caring and genuine service to others and not expect anything in return, however, I am sure that the praise you receive for a job very well done will never go astray – will it!
by Keith Ready
Meditation: Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!
Colonel James E. Moschgat shares some leadership lessons from a janitor…
William “Bill” Crawford certainly was an unimpressive figure, one you could easily overlook during a hectic day at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Mr. Crawford, as most of us referred to him back in the late 1970s, was our squadron janitor.
While we cadets busied ourselves preparing for academic exams, athletic events, Saturday morning parades and room inspections, or never-ending leadership classes, Bill quietly moved about the squadron mopping and buffing floors, emptying trash cans, cleaning toilets, or just tidying up the mess 100 college-age kids can leave in a dormitory. Sadly, and for many years, few of us gave him much notice, rendering little more than a passing nod or throwing a curt, “G’morning!” in his direction as we hurried off to our daily duties.
Why? Perhaps it was because of the way he did his job – he always kept the squadron area spotlessly clean, even the toilets and showers gleamed. Frankly, he did his job so well, none of us had to notice or get involved. After all, cleaning toilets was his job, not ours. Maybe it was his physical appearance that made him disappear into the background. Bill didn’t move very quickly and, in fact, you could say he even shuffled a bit, as if he suffered from some sort of injury. His grey hair and wrinkled face made him appear ancient to a group of young cadets. And his crooked smile, well, it looked a little funny. Face it, Bill was an old man working in a young person’s world. What did he have to offer us on a personal level?
Finally, maybe it was Mr. Crawford’s personality that rendered him almost invisible to the young people around him. Bill was shy, almost painfully so. He seldom spoke to a cadet unless they addressed him first, and that didn’t happen very often. Our janitor always buried himself in his work, moving about with stooped shoulders, a quiet gait, and an averted gaze. If he noticed the hustle and bustle of cadet life around him, it was hard to tell. So, for whatever reason, Bill blended into the woodwork and became just another fixture around the squadron. The Academy, one of our nation’s premier leadership laboratories, kept us busy from dawn till dusk. And Mr Crawford… well, he was just a janitor.
That changed one fall Saturday afternoon in 1976. I was reading a book about World War II and the tough Allied ground campaign in Italy when I stumbled across an incredible story. On September 13, 1943, a Private William Crawford from Colorado, assigned to the 36th Infantry Division, had been involved in some bloody fighting on Hill 424 near Altavilla, Italy. The words on the page leapt out at me: “in the face of intense and overwhelming hostile fire… with no regard for personal safety… on his own initiative, Private Crawford single-handedly attacked fortified enemy positions.” It continued, “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, the President of the United States…”
“Holy cow,” I said to my roommate, “you’re not going to believe this, but I think our janitor is a Medal of Honor winner.” We all knew Mr Crawford was a WWII Army vet, but that didn’t keep my friend from looking at me as if I was some sort of alien being. Nonetheless, we couldn’t wait to ask Bill about the story on Monday. We met Mr Crawford bright and early Monday and showed him the page in question from the book, anticipation and doubt in our faces. He starred at it for a few silent moments and then quietly uttered something like, “Yep, that’s me.”
Mouths agape, my roommate and I looked at one another, then at the book, and quickly back at our janitor. Almost at once, we both stuttered, “Why didn’t you ever tell us about it?” He slowly replied after some thought, “That was one day in my life and it happened a long time ago.”
I guess we were all at a loss for words after that. We had to hurry off to class and Bill, well, he had chores to attend to. However, after that brief exchange, things were never again the same around our squadron. Word spread like wildfire among the cadets that we had a hero in our midst – Mr Crawford, our janitor, had won the Medal! Cadets who had once passed by Bill with hardly a glance, now greeted him with a smile and a respectful, “Good morning, Mr Crawford.”
Those who had before left a mess for the “janitor” to clean up started taking it upon themselves to put things in order. Most cadets routinely stopped to talk to Bill throughout the day and we even began inviting him to our formal squadron functions. He’d show up dressed in a conservative dark suit and quietly talk to those who approached him, the only sign of his heroics being a simple blue, star-spangled lapel pin.
Almost overnight, Bill went from being a simple fixture in our squadron to one of our teammates. Mr Crawford changed too, but you had to look closely to notice the difference. After that fall day in 1976, he seemed to move with more purpose, his shoulders didn’t seem to be as stooped, he met our greetings with a direct gaze and a stronger “good morning” in return, and he flashed his crooked smile more often. The squadron gleamed as always, but everyone now seemed to notice it more. Bill even got to know most of us by our first names, something that didn’t happen often at the Academy. While no one ever formally acknowledged the change, I think we became Bill’s cadets and his squadron.
By Colonel James E. Moschgat, Commander of the 12th Operations Group, 12th Flying Training Wing, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas
Meditation: Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” – 1 Peter 5:5
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!
A wise old man was sitting at the river bank when he saw a cat that had fallen into the water, flailing around, trying to save itself from drowning.
The man decided to save the cat. He stretched his hand out but was scratched by the cat. He pulled his hand back in pain.
However, a minute later he stretched his hand out again to save the cat, but it scratched him again, and again he pulled his hand back in pain.
Another minute later he was yet again trying for the third time!
A man, who was nearby watching what was happening, yelled out: “O wise man, you have not learned your lesson the first time, nor the second time, and now you are trying to save the cat a third time?”
The wise man paid no heed to that man’s scolding and kept on trying until he managed to save the cat.
He then walked over to the man and patted his shoulder saying: “My son, it is in the cat’s nature to scratch, and it is in my nature to love and have sympathy. Why do you want me to let the cat’s nature overcome mine?
My son: Treat people according to your nature, not according to theirs, no matter what they are like and no matter how numerous are their actions that harm you and cause you hurt sometimes.
And do not pay heed to all the voices that loudly call out to you to leave behind your good qualities merely because the other party is not deserving of your noble actions.
When you live to give happiness to others, God will send you those who will live to give happiness to you.
“Is the reward for good anything but good?”
Be beautiful in character and hearts will love you.
So never regret the moments you gave happiness to someone, even if that person did not deserve it.
And suffice in the fact that you have a Lord Who will reward you for good with good.
“The entire lesson is (about) good character, so whoever exceeds you in good character, has exceeded you in the reward.”
— Author Unknown
Meditation: But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, – Matthew 5:44
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
Ducks Quack, Eagles Soar
I was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. When a cab pulled up, the first thing I noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for me.
He handed me a laminated card and said: ‘I’m Wasu, your driver. While I’m loading your bags in the trunk I’d like you to read my mission statement.’
Taken aback, I read the card. It said: Wasu’s Mission Statement: To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment.
This blew me away, especially when I noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!
As he slid behind the wheel, Wasu said, ‘Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.’
I said jokingly, ‘No, I’d prefer a soft drink.’
Wasu smiled and said, ‘No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, lassi, water and orange juice.’
Almost stuttering, I said, ‘I’ll take a Lassi.’
Handing me my drink, Wasu said, ‘If you’d like something to read, I have The Hindu, Times of India, ET and India Today.’
As we were pulling away, Wasu handed me another laminated card, ‘These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you’d like to listen to the radio.’
And as if that weren’t enough, Wasu told me that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for me.
Then he advised me of the best route to my destination for that time of day. He also let me know that he’d be happy to chat and tell me about some of the sights or, if I preferred, to leave me with my own thoughts.
I was amazed and asked him, ‘Tell me, Wasu, have you always served customers like this?’
Wasu smiled into the rearview mirror. ‘No, not always. In fact, it’s only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard about the power of choice one day.’
‘Power of choice is that you can be a duck or an eagle.’
‘If you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you’ll rarely disappoint yourself. Don’t be a duck. Stop complaining. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.’
‘That hit me right,’ said Wasu.
‘It is about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some changes. I put in a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.’
‘I take it that has paid off for you,’ I said.
‘It sure has,’ Wasu replied. ‘My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year I’ll probably quadruple it. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message on it.’
Wasu made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles.
“You don’t die if you fall into pool, you die only if you don’t swim.”
— Author Unknown
Meditation: But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. – 1 Corinthians 15:10
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
My mother only had one eye. I hated her… She was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students and teachers to support the family.
There was this one day during elementary school where my mum came to say hello to me. I was so embarrassed.
How could she do this to me? I ignored her, threw her a hateful look and ran out. The next day at school one of my classmates said, “EEEE, your mum only has one eye!”
I wanted to bury myself. I also wanted my mum to just disappear. I confronted her that day and said, “If you’re only gonna make me a laughing stock, why don’t you just die?”
My mum did not respond… I didn’t even stop to think for a second about what I had said, because I was full of anger. I was oblivious to her feelings.
I wanted out of that house, and have nothing to do with her. So I studied real hard, got a chance to go abroad to study.
Then, I got married. I bought a house of my own. I had kids of my own. I was happy with my life, my kids and the comforts. Then one day, my mother came to visit me. She hadn’t seen me in years and she didn’t even meet her grandchildren.
When she stood by the door, my children laughed at her, and I yelled at her for coming over uninvited. I screamed at her, “How dare you come to my house and scare my children! GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!”
And to this, my mother quietly answered, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I may have gotten the wrong address.” –and she disappeared out of sight.
One day, a letter regarding a school reunion came to my house. So I lied to my wife that I was going on a business trip. After the reunion, I went to the old shack just out of curiosity.
My neighbours said that she died. I did not shed a single tear. They handed me a letter that she had wanted me to have.
My dearest son,
I think of you all the time. I’m sorry that I came to your house and scared your children.
I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I may not be able to even get out of bed to see you. I’m sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up.
You see… when you were very little, you got into an accident and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn’t stand watching you having to grow up with one eye. So I gave you mine.
I was so proud of my son who was seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye.
With all my love to you,
— Author Unknown
Meditation: For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ – Matthew 15:4
You will succeed in Jesus Name!