Everyday I seem to ask with increased frustration, “what in the world has happened to Wisdom?” My parent’s and grandparent’s generations worked really hard, made notable civil rights progression and even put a man on the moon. Now it seems as if everyone wants to be the next teenaged CEO! If we’re all giving orders, who’s left to do the work?
Today we demand the best INSTANTLY, and have an insatiable appetite for newer, younger and faster. No time to cook on the stove? Then put those organic veggies in the microwave. Why wait in line at the gas station when you can pay at the pump and be on your way? Don’t want your pet anymore? Then drop Fluffy off at a shelter and move on with your life. Best of all, if you don’t have any money…no worries. Just take out a loan, get a payday advance, or give a total stranger the title to your car! Have we lost our collective minds? It would seem so, but it’s just the absence of wisdom and understanding.
Growing up in the U.S., I held a summer job during my high school years like many other teens who lived in the city. One of the first was at a company where my Mom worked, in a pilot apprenticeship program. It was the WORST EXPERIENCE EVER. All summer long I ran around like a maniac delivering messages and answering the phone as the office clerk, while attempting to master as many administrative skills as I could by watching my co-workers. My job was to apprentice (or learn their trade) under them. My supervisor was extremely rude, and barely tolerated anyone’s presence. Needless to say I avoided him at all costs, and next summer I was not invited back. Not sorry!
The next year I decided to work at a local restaurant with my best friend. You know the one, where billions of golden fries and juicy burgers are sold. What an eye-opening experience. With a system in place for almost everything, this organized, left-brain teenager found her home. For example, to master the basics, which was the grilled food area, everyone did the following: watched a series of videos, took a written test, worked under the most senior person’s supervision, ultimately worked unsupervised and then trained another. This system was in place at each station in the restaurant, and employees were only instructed using the above successful and proven techniques.
What I clearly remember from that time was the great amount of praise we received for a job well done. Mistakes were quickly identified, and correct technique continuously reinforced in the workspace. Team members were rewarded with increased responsibility, taught the importance of great customer service and the power of caring for fellow employees. I’ve matured and added to those teachings from decades ago, but recognize the significance of senior mentorship and empowerment. Opportunity came to a group of inner city teenagers that summer in the form of leadership, discipline, and compassion. It still knocks softly on the door of this generation’s heart asking, “will you slow down and listen to me?”
I am Wisdom.
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