I started doing odd jobs when I was about fourteen: babysitting, cleaning house, laundry, painting, gardening…a whole gamut of things people hired me to do!
When I turned sixteen I was really excited about finally being old enough to get a REAL job…making minimum wage ($3.35 an hour). A much better wage than a dollar an hour.
My first REAL job was working at a fast food restaurant. I flipped french fries and built hamburgers, part time, after school and weekends. When summer arrived I wanted to work more than part time, but the place I worked at was only willing to give me a few hours a week. Therefore, I got a second job at a campground working forty hours a week. I asked my manager at the restaurant if I could work only one day a week during the summer and once school started I would go back to working part time. He agreed and I was able to work both jobs.
I worked five days at the campground, one day at the restaurant, and had one day off during the week. This worked out so well that the following summer I again asked the restaurant if I could, once again, work only one day a week, so that I could work at the campground full time during the summer. Again, they agreed.
Each week I checked with the restaurant to find out when they needed me to work and my boss at the campground would schedule my work around that day. All good….right? Not…half-way through that summer someone at the restaurant decided they didn’t like me working only one day a week; rather than let me know they started messing with my schedule (which was wrote in pencil and easy to change) to make it look as if I wasn’t dependable.
I would show up for work and be told it wasn’t my day to work or I’d get a phone call from the restaurant asking where I was and why I hadn’t shown up for work. I began to suspect someone was changing my hours…making it look like I wasn’t showing up when I was scheduled to work. I was much to busy (working forty plus hours a week) to play a cat and mouse game…checking every few days to make sure my schedule hadn’t changed.
One afternoon, I got a call from my manager at the restaurant wanting to know why I hadn’t shown up for work. I explained that I was not scheduled to work that day…he said I was and if I didn’t come in to work I was fired.
I got off the phone very upset! I told my parents what the manager had said and how I suspected someone had been messing with my schedule. My dad knew his daughter…knew she worked forty plus hours a week, didn’t lie, and was responsible. He said we were going to the restaurant together. (Now my dads not a hothead, actually he’s a mild mannered man, but he wasn’t about to let someone walk over top of his daughter.)
We walked into the restaurant and my dad asked to speak with my manager–he didn’t yell or scream–but in the end my manager admitted that the schedule had been tampered with. My dad calmly told him that I would not be coming back to work. His daughter was not going to work at a job where she would be treated dishonestly.
It has been thirty years since my father interceded on my behalf and I haven’t forgotten! He stood up for me when I was much too young to know how to handle that situation. His action’s spoke volumes to me…he believed in me…he was on my side (he would always be on my side)…he would defend me, and he loved me.
Children need someone to be their advocate…they haven’t had enough life lessons to know how to proceed on their own. Next week I’m going to be starting a series on bullying…to explore how we can advocate for children.
Do to others as you would have them do to you Luke 6:31.