When we eased around the next curve, we were forced to dodge a big, green Waste Management truck just before the driver hopped back in. As we passed, my dad did an interesting thing – he waved to the trash man (I didn’t even know we citizens were allowed to do that). Common courtesy in most Western states dictates that when someone waves to you, you wave back, and the trash man didn’t disappoint.
I didn’t think too much of that curious little incident until we pulled up to my folks’ house. All down the long, winding street empty trashcans were scattered along the curbs – while a majority of them were upright, all of them were askew to one extent or another. My parents’ curb, however, was empty. I was about to hit my dad with some smack about missing another trash day, when I noticed their two cans up the driveway next to the garage, standing straight, nicely aligned – and I could have sworn they’d been polished.
My dad, knowing exactly what the question was that I was trying to form, said, “Your mom and I thank the trash man each Christmas, tell him what a good job he’s doing…and slip him a couple $20s.”
Brilliant! What a great lesson to remember, whether it’s in the workplace, the church, or in our families. People want appreciation. People want recognition. And, most people don’t mind if you slip them a little sumpin’ sumpin’ (not saying it needs to be cash, but it is amazing how a $5 Starbucks card can brighten someone's day).
Although, I just got through preaching a sermon on how those things shouldn’t be the primary motivators for the work we do or the service we give, the fact remains that they still count. And, if leaders neglect the Appreciation/Recognition/Sumpin’ Sumpin’ (I had thought of turning that into an acronym, but I’m afraid it would come too close to offending our British readers), our people may still do the job, but maybe not as well…and probably not with a smile on their faces.
So, today, think of someone who gives you some help – could be your husband, your wife, your kiddo, your employee, your trash man – someone who could use a boost. Then, find a way to give them some Appreciation/Recognition/Sumpin’ Sumpin’. A little love goes a long way…