When I am asked to facilitate a workshop, I am prepared to facilitate whatever subjects the coordinator requests for their group. There is the odd occasion when I arrive and meet members of the group then realize the topics requested are not going to work for them. I may know that, but the customer is always right so I stick with what was requested and deliver with all the passion and knowledge I can offer.
Last Tuesday was one of these occasions. The moment I arrived I could sense that these ladies were not happy to be there and were not interested in anything I had to say. They sat with their cell phones on the table directly in front of them and their hands folded across their chest or holding on to their chins.
Great, I thought when I walked into the room and observed the situation, I really need divine intervention; I took a deep breath and silently said, “I need guidance to be able to reach these ladies.”
The coordinator introduced me and I began by telling the participants a little about JVS Toronto. The moment I was done, one of the ladies said, “What can you teach us that we do not already know, you come here with your high and mighty attitude and think you can teach us how to survive on a low-income when you have no idea what living on a low- income is like. You people come here and speak from your pulpit and expect us to go out there, do what you say, and our world will suddenly be ok.
Thank God for yoga and deep breathing. I did my breathing exercise, smiled and said, “Who told you that was what I am here to do? If they did, I am extremely sorry to say I will have to disappoint both you and the person who gave you this information.”
“You see, I am a Financial Advancer, my job is to take you from where you are and advance you to where you want to go. I am not able to do that unless you first tell me where it is you would like to go financially, think of me as an airline company: it will not take you to Montreal when you paid to go to Disney. The customer is always right and I aim to please.”
Let me tell you a story about a young woman I met 37 years ago. This young woman was 22 years old when she got married. At that time, she worked for the Government of Ontario, Ministry of Education and every six months the Government gave them a $3.50 rise in pay. Her philosophy then and even now is that she did not have it last week so she is going to pretend she did not have it this week and would save it. Now this young woman and her husband wanted to buy a home so she decided that she would save every pay raise they received until they had sufficient funds for a down payment to buy a home. She went to the Credit Union on MacDonald Block and opened an account. She then asked the clerk to have $3.50 come out of her pay cheque every two weeks.
The young woman had to have her lunch right in front of the clerk as this transaction took an entire hour since there were no computers. Today, it would take one minute to put together. This continued and with each raise she or her husband received she would go back to Credit Union to increase the amount. At the age of 29, the bi-weekly amount had grown to $80.00 and they now had a savings of $7,500. They were able to purchase a home with a down payment of $5,000.00. They did not buy new appliances; they went to Queen West and purchased a used stove, used washing machine and a used fridge. They did not buy a dryer; instead they went to Honest Ed’s and bought a ball of twine, a package of clothes’ pegs and a small packet of nails. Her husband picked up a couple of stones to use as a hammer to knock the nails in the walls of the basement to use as their clothes’ line. Three months later their daughter was born, so they took the dresser drawer and padded it to use as her crib for the first two months of her life. No matter where this family ended up they cannot deny the beginning of their financial journey. If this young woman did not start that very small savings plan they could not be where they are today and she would not be standing in front of you today.” There was an audible gasped. I continued, “The reason I wanted to tell you this true story is to let you know that, I do not want you to believe because a person comes to facilitate a workshop that they have never walked in the shoes you are wearing today. Are we ready to begin the workshop?”
To Be Continued…