Have you ever stopped to think that your snotty-nosed toddler will be a mom or dad someday? Your daughter is going to be a mommy, an employee, or a wife. Your son is going to be somebody’s husband, colleague, or neighbor. It’s hard to imagine, I know. When our children are little, we focus on the immediate toddler milestones like walking and potty training. But we have to envision so much more, like who we want them to be when they are 29. In order to train toddlers we need that kind of vision.
The need for vision is just 1 of the 12 Tenets of Training I offer in my booklet More Than Potty Trained: A Parent’s Guide to Obedient Toddlers. And the fruit of vision is overwhelmingly evident in the life of my daughter, Erica, who is now 29 and a mommy, an employee, and a wife.
Here’s what she had to say about the way she was raised and its impact on her adult life:
As kids, we loved having guests over and serving them! And while it was great having friends our own age come over, I distinctly remember being excited when my parents’ friends would come to visit. My parents didn’t shoo us away and force us downstairs, away from company. But they also didn’t allow us to take over, and assume every guest was there to play with us. Instead, my Mom taught us how to serve.
When guests came over, we would grab cookie trays and cover them with nice towels. We’d bring the guests tea or coffee or an appetizer on the tray, and wait quietly for them to finish, then remove their dishes and wash them. It was so much fun, mainly because we got to wear special aprons and it felt like we were working in a restaurant! But it was also great to have an opportunity to surprise and delight our company with something simple as serving them coffee on a tray.
So how appropriate that today, as the wife of an owner of a Chick-fil-A, that I have the opportunity to take what my parents taught us about serving and apply it to the guests that come into the restaurant. The spirit of service that was instilled in me as a child has only made me a better servant to the guests that come visit our restaurant. We carry trays for guests, help young moms with kids to their tables and every now and then give free dessert to our guests as a way to make them feel special. I’m so thankful for the opportunities to serve others before myself, and I have my parents to thank for instilling this attitude of service at such an early age.
I’m blessed by these words and by Erica’s work ethic and heart of service. She and Will have already begun training their son in the family business!