Exactly one year ago my son, Dallas, wanted to work for Chick-fil-A. Being only 14 years old, he was a little young, but he gave it a shot. I helped him by picking up the application, filling it out and coordinating the interview with the restaurant manager for him. As he interviewed, I waited in the car for him to return. He had butterflies, which is normal for a first job interview. I was probably more nervous than him. After all, what parent wants to see their child rejected?
He returned to the car, and I asked, “Well, how’d it go?“
He replied, “Good, but I was told I’d be better for Back of House, and you have to be closer to 16. She told me to apply again next year around the same time.”
As he eagerly awaited February 2020, his desire to work for Chick-fil-A did not wane. If he had it his way, we’d eat dinner there every night. Plus, he loves their culture and corporate values and wants to be part of their team.
This year, however, I decided not to do everything for him. Rather, I would counsel him through the process and teach him what he’ll have to do to make the right impression to get the job. I want him to benefit from the knowledge of how to get the job, rather than him benefiting from the direct results of my labor. He would have to be responsible, accountable and earn it himself.
He picked up, filled out and turned in the application on his own. His cell phone and e-mail were listed as contacts, not mine. He would get the call to coordinate the interview.
He turned in the application late Monday evening. He received a call Wednesday to schedule the interview for next Friday.
I asked him, “Is that Friday, February 14th or Friday February 21st?”
He replied, “Next Friday is the 21st.”
I said, “Ok, just make sure you confirm what date she meant.“
So, I’m relaxing from a exhausting week late on Friday the 14th, and Dallas pops his head in my room, “Dad, I just listened to a voice message from Chick-fil-A. My interview was today, and I missed it.“
“I’m so sorry about that, Dallas. Did you confirm what ‘next Friday’ meant?,” I asked.
“No, I was certain it was the 21st,” he answered.
“Well, I think you should call them back, apologize for the misunderstanding, and I’m sure they will forgive you and reschedule,” I advised.
Dallas’ interview is now scheduled for Monday, February 17th. This was a valuable learning experience for Dallas.
As Dallas grows up, he’s becoming a more coachable young man. He’s allowing me to “prune” him, just as I allow God to prune me. It’s becoming more and more evident to me that Dallas notices that. My process of discipline and correction is aligned with God’s process, and it’s rooted in unconditional love. We treat every day as an opportunity to grow in relationship with His Spirit and allow the pruning of branches that do not bear fruit. Every gardener knows that pruning non-bearing fruit branches of a vine or a plant returns even more fruit on the fruit bearing branches. This is analogous to how we should live our lives.
As I reflect on this Chick-fil-A experience, it highlights how important it is to learn by doing and making room for failure. We are all better off if we acquire the knowledge of how to do something rather than simply getting the something itself. We can’t appreciate what we don’t work for.
For example, children are better off learning how to get a job and make money rather than getting the money itself. They are better off getting the example of of their parents’ labor rather than the result of their parents’ labor.
I am grateful for the example that God sets for me so that I may set it too for my children.