It’s National Custodians Day

I am a big fan of custodians.

From Mr. and Mrs. Kling who were the custodians at my elementary school, to Mr. Terrell who was the all-round fix-it and clean-up man at the camp I attended, to William who helps us unload boxes and boxes of food each week at the school where our church runs a food pantry, custodians have long been some of my favorite people.

It’s not because I live a cluttered life and possess little in the way of cleaning skills. And it’s not just because I pastor a church too small to have our own custodian which means that sometimes, the custodian is me. I have had good experiences with people who clean up after the rest of us. I have found people who do the hard work behind the scenes to be engaging, accepting and always ready to help.

There is a story that many people from CEOs to healthcare practitioners tell as their own. I like to believe that the story was true at some point and really did happen. It goes something like this:

I was taking a 10-week business/nursing/realtors class. It was a difficult class with a ton of information, so much so that the professor almost always ran over time and the cleaning lady was always waiting to get in as we were leaving. As the final was approaching I amped up my studying, made tons of flashcards and drank way too much coffee. When the day came, I was ready. The final had one question on it: what is the name of the woman who cleans our room?  It was the only test I’ve ever failed…because I had no idea. 

The lesson that the real or fictitious professor was trying to teach is that in business or healthcare or any kind of career, no matter how much knowledge you have or how smart you are, if you forget about people, you’ve missed the point.

On this National Custodians day, pay attention to the people you encounter (or maybe don’t even see) who make your day run. You may be surprised at just how many people are working to get you through your day.  Make note of the number of custodians, clerks, baristas, bartenders and everyone else who helps you out today. At the end of the day, pray for them. And if you get the chance throughout the day, thank them.

–Rev. Anne Russ


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