By Jeff Becraft
Being that this is New Year’s Eve, not even sure if anyone will even see this one. There was no Friday email last week on Christmas Eve because my wife and I were on our way to NJ to see her mom and sister… and watch a deluge of Hallmark movies. (“Can we watch hockey now?”) This is a “reprint” from 3 years ago. At least for the Youth Corps family, it has been a heavy several weeks. We lost a Board member (age 43), sister of a Board member (age 34), and a dad of a Board member. It is good to know that in times like these, there is One who still stoops down with us in the midst of heartache, disappointment, and difficulties. So, this is one worth re-reading:
My Dad is one of the most amazing men I know. I have told people that if I could be half the man that he is, then I would consider my life a success.
I have mentioned before that my first job was at 15 years old, washing pots and pans in a kitchen at a golf course on Friday and Saturday nights… for $2 an hour. I gave up playing basketball my 10th grade year just to be able to work this job.
As Christmas approached, I came down with the flu. My Dad called that Friday morning (looking backwards, I should have called myself) and he spoke with the supervisor of the kitchen and told her that I would not be able to make it in that night because I had the flu. The woman on the other end of the phone somewhat panicked and said to my Dad, “Mr. Becraft, he has to come in… tonight is our big Christmas party! It is the biggest event of the year for us! We need him here to help out.”
My Dad responded, “Well, see if you can find someone to replace him. If you can’t find anyone, then I’ll come in.”
When my Dad got home from work that day, he called up to the kitchen and was figuring he was just politely checking in. To his surprise, the supervisor said, “Mr. Becraft, we weren’t able to find anyone… we need you to come in.”
And so after working a long day at work, my Dad ate some dinner and without even changing out of his work clothes (although I think he took off his tie), he headed out to spend several hours washing pots & pans and even busing some tables. He would later say, “I hope none of our clients were there that night… they would be wondering what is going on with our company. ‘Why is Ed Becraft out here busing tables?'”
When my Dad got home late that night, I was laying on the couch. He came over to me and was going to give me the money.
I said, “Dad… that’s your money. You earned it… all $2 an hour of it.”
Then my Dad said something to me that I have never forgotten: “No, it is your money… I took your place.”
And so the Vice President of an extremely successful construction company spent all day at work and then humbled himself to slosh it out in a dish pit all evening for $2 an hour, all so he could take the place of one of his children… and then hands me the money that I didn’t even work for.
Stooping down to make someone else great. That is what the original Christmas was all about.
Happy can come and go… but more importantly, make it a significant New Year.
Jeff Becraft is the Executive Director for Youth Corps and has dedicated much of his life to helping shift the vision of people’s lives. Youth Corps is a life-changing leadership development experience that inspires high school students to be leaders in the Midlands and beyond. You can connect with Jeff at [email protected].