It was a horrible feeling. It was one of those moments where I wanted to crawl under a rock, but there was no rock to be found. And, to make matters worse, a crowd was watching.
In general, I loved my part-time job. I had good hours. I worked with good people. I also loved making my local Revco look better. Yet, there was one part I hated—running the register.
I hated being in one place for hours. I hated the mad rush that would come from time to time. Since we were located by a movie theater, that rush usually around 6:45 on Friday night. Women with large purse bought large quantities of candy. I wonder why.
Even though I did not like it, I never felt lost or embarrassed. But that afternoon I did.
It was a Friday; it was 6:45; and as usual, it was crowded. Then something strange happened. I was in the middle of a sale, and the lights flicked. Following the flicker, I was standing alone looking at a nice older gentlemen waiting for his change.
It wasn’t that I could not get the change. A key would open the door. The problem was I could not calculate the change. You see, I was trained to trust the machine and not to use my brain. So, I froze and my mind quite working, and I was humiliated in front of a crowd of people unable to do basic math.
When I finally completed the task, he dropped his head and dryly said, “There was a day when people could do basic math.” He continued to lament as he walked out the door. I lamented too. In that moment, I was a young man humiliated, and my humiliation stemmed from a lack of training.
My training should have been more that a data dump. It should have been more than using the right code or hitting the right button. It should have been, but it wasn’t. Thus, I was unprepared when the power went out.
Similarly, training the next generation should be more than a data dump. It includes data transfer, but it is just the beginning. True education should consist of teaching someone to think, to use the brain God gave them for the reason God gave it.
We need this type of training, because there will always be times when the lights go out. And when the lights do go out, the person who can make change will still get paid.
When we teach someone how to learn, and when we infuse them with a love of learning, they will be prepared. They will be unafraid in a crisis. They will avoid humiliation. And they will become the person others look to in a crisis, for they will eventually figure it out. We need more people who can do this. May God be pleased to grant us more of them in the next generation!