My first boss repeatedly said,
“Make it happen.”
I found these three words tiring and lacking encouragement. At the time, I did not think about how hard my first boss’ job might be. The thing is . . . my boss had to manage kids . . . picking crops. At age eleven, my capacity to see beyond myself had not been fully developed. I knew her husband had left her to raise their four kids and that she worked for those who owned the land. I’m sure she felt pressured to meet her assigned quota in order to provide for her family. That said, she could have had a much better outcome if, she would have spoke words of value and listened to understand.
This single mother of four led as a dictator, never moving away from her stance of being the boss with total control over our platoon. We knew there could not be any other way but her way. We understood our boss would not be our babysitter; we were placed on her platoon to work.
The back-breaking physical work in the hot long summer days challenged all of us. Some of us were able to get the job done more efficiently than others. Each of us had to pick a minimum amount or we would be let go from the “platoon.” Despite the harsh demands of the dictatorship, some kids could not make their quota.
Those of us who were the most productive made a pact to help those who could not produce their quota. Looking backwards, the wrongs of the work experience are finger-pointing worthy; however, the formation of the community stands out above all. We would line up in the late afternoon to get on the bus. Those who had picked the most stood at the front of the line, the least at the back. The ones who were unable to pick their quota stood in a separate line. Our platoon never had a separate line.
The lesson to be learned is from the word, “We.” This word defines the power of building relationships and doing life together. It makes a difference when we know there is someone in our corner, cheering loud, and helping us along the way.
Assignment: Determine who belongs in your community. Do life together, giving and receiving help from one another.
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