Sunday, November 9, 2008

First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady

This past week my friend, Elizabeth Dille, sent me an e-mail with a subject header:

This will make you think about the way we treat people.

This e-mail contained several Lessons and after reading each one of them I thought it would be great to share them with my family as individual blog entries.


"During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one: 'What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?'

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50's, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

'Absolutely,' said the professor. 'In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello.'

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy."

I have worked at Harbor Freight Tools for 4 1/2 years in the payroll department and work with about 200 managers and am responsible for over 2000 employees. I know about 10% of the store managers by name and location. I am certain that if I wanted to, I could know all 200 store managers by name and location. I am also certain that each one of them knows me. It is a matter of wanting to and actually caring about others.

In the past 4 1/2 years I have come to know one of our employees well enough to know that he knows each person in the office by name. This is actually amazing. Brian spent a better part of his adult life using various drugs including crystal meth. Due to the duration of the drug abuse and the quantities, Brian is a lot like a mentally handicapped person. Despite his weakness, he always says hello to each person that he sees and attempts to communicate. He is thoughtful and caring.

If we all were a little more thoughtful, a little more out-going and a little more caring we would know the cleaning lady's name or the name of the old man that lives two doors down. Do we know the name of each child in our neighborhood? Do we acknowledge each person that we see with a smile and a warm greeting? Do we try to get to know the single sister in our ward or the investigator trying to learn more about Christ?

I have wondered why some people join the church and realized it was because someone said hello; invited them to sit with them; included them in conversation with already established friends. Do we leave our comfort zones and reach out to others? Fellowshipping is extremely important for the investigator or a convert. The Holy Ghost testifies of the truthfullness of the gospel to the spirit. Our fellowshipping testifies of the the truthfullness of the gospel to the heart.
When Victor was investigating the church I knew that he could not be pushed or forced into joining the church. Bishop Ramirez and Brother Frankenburg were the great facilitators in Victor's conversion. Their sincere friendship and fellowship towards him opened the doors to his conversion. The patience of the ward members and the missionaries allowed the spirit to reach Victor's heart because he did not feel pressured. I am grateful for the sound counsel of our Father in Heaven found in Doctrine and Covenants section 121 verses 41 and 42:
"No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by vitue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile--"
Because I have seen the power of friendship on the soul and eternal salvation I have determined to extend my personality to others, especially those who are seeking truth and light. I have made a new friend who is currently investigating the church and knows that she will commit to baptism, but will not do so if she feels pressured. I know that she knows the church is true. I also know that she wants to feel a part of the ward family and that she belongs. She is a good friend and I know that she will find great joy as a member of the church.
I hope that each one of us can find the time in our lives to extend our friendship to those around us. What a wonderful way to express our gratitude for the gospel and the tender mercies we receive from day to day from a loving Heavenly Father.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for that, Becky! Coming from the position of being one of those people you just sort of pass by, I really appreciate it when people say hi to me. And I suppose I ought to step out of my comfort zone and reach out to others. It's hard, though, when fear of rejection is a hang up. :D I think there is a special place in Heavenly Father's heart for his shy children.

Trillium said...

I recently read that anecdote about the test question on the cleaning lady's name. I tried to remember where I had read it and couldn't find it in two of the most recent books I've read. So now its going to drive me crazy until I remember the source. Help!!!!!! Get the source from your friend...before my OCD takes over my life!!!!!

Rebecca said...

I have found that my fear is overcome by the knowledge that Heavenly Father won't let me get hurt and that the gospel is true.

How can I know the truth and not want to touch another's spirit?

Mom: I will see if Elizabeth knows the source.

DebbieLou said...

Trillium, you read it in one of Jenny's blog entries about a month back or so. It was with 4 other short stories of the same caliber.

BTW, it was nice to see that you are back to blogging again, Becky. I was begging to get worried that you were really sick or something.

Jen said...

Woah. That was some serious Deja Vu . . .

Rebecca said...

sorry. I didn't realize that Jen had included this in a previous blog.

DebbieLou said...

That's okay, as you added your own nice comments and so on to make it your own.