I spent a lot of my teens and twenties working jobs that shaped me.
From age twelve, I worked for my grandfather delivering Maytag appliances, Zenith televisions, and Kenwood stereos. I learned so much as I worked for a furniture store as well. I had to pay attention to detail, as the folks who purchased the quality furniture and electronics did not want their items scratched, or we would hear about it.
We delivered everything from mattresses, gigantic carpet rolls, three hundred pound refrigerators, to VCRs. All of them were challenging in some way, but also rewarding. Imagine, buying an expensive piece of furniture and having a twelve year old show as one of the delivery people. Of course, this was a small town and people knew my family, so I think they probably extended a lot more grace than I deserved.
I learned over those summers that many people live much different than I. People lived lavishly, but many lived in places that were not as nice as my middle class home an hour away. Customers tried to feed me, tip me, and give me all kinds of advice, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I knew at an early age that I liked working with people. I learned more about people as I was too young to do a lot of installation, so I had to face the awkward situation of chatting with a customer while someone else did the installation.
I learned that I had the gift of gab. I loved hearing their stories, from how they ended up in Kansas to stories of rough seasons in their life that they made it through. I learned about the people in my great state of Kansas are gritty, tough people. They can survive, they are fighters. There is rarely a time when I pass by a delivery truck, where it does not invoke the memories of how I first learned how to serve others. A lesson, I could never have paid for, it has shaped my life.