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Unlearning Packaging

I had a pastor a few years back who used to say that the reason Adam failed the test in the garden of Eden was because He was created as a fully grown man and did not have the opportunity to grow. Well, this may not be entirely true, but you cannot take away the fact that the experience of growth actually teaches us a lot of things. It is growth that makes you know that fire isn’t to be toyed with. But asides the lessons that we learn going through the process of growth, growth is almost like the essence of living. We are able to look at old pictures and appreciate all that came with life at that time. Sometimes, we wonder why we were so obsessed about owning a particular fashion item and how that item looks so funny in the present.

Growth is beautiful and every human being should be given an opportunity to grow through life. A growth process that is aborted or impeded, results in an end product that is not fully developed to cope with the challenges and even opportunities that the new phase brings.

This is why it is important that your domestic staff is afforded the time and opportunity to grow. This one is particularly for you who hires a domestic staff who isn’t very well educated or exposed. You see, someone who has lived all her life in the village or a smaller city would not change automatically to match your city standard in three months. Nothing is wrong with them, they just need time. Even if you change their wardrobe, change their grooming kit and change their diet, just so they can blend in with your family, the only thing that has been accomplished by doing that, can be likened to the example of Adam above. You are presenting them with the condition of a “full blown city girl when they still remain a simple village girl” in their minds.

I have seen a number of domestic staff leave because of this reason. They are suddenly laden with the pressure of fitting into and maintaining something they aren’t fully prepared for yet. The employer is innocently passing down all her clothes to her, heels, hair products and so on just to make her feel welcome, but the domestic staff is somehow overwhelmed by this gesture. The employer is saying “but I am doing everything for her, what else could I have done?”

Here’s a suggestion on what this employer could have done instead. Before the make-over, first teach her better hygiene- how to take care of her existing clothes; wash, condition and always iron and fold them, so that she grows in appreciation for clothes generally, develops a good maintenance culture and now becomes eager to get new ones so that she can care for them better. As against a scenario where one day she’s wearing rough old clothes and the next, you’re putting properly laundered clothes on her and asking her to maintain that as a standard in your home.

Unlearning our idea of progress and growth would mean that we start to recognize that growth isn’t anything physical first. It is first mental. It is work done on the mind and is realized over a period of time. In whatever area you desire your domestic staff to improve, avoid the temptation of doing all the outside props as against the most important work that should be taking place on the inside.

Always ask “What is the hidden work equivalent of the progress I want to see on the outside?” For example, in one of my training lessons, I teach domestic staff that the first thing to do when they think they need more money is not to leave their jobs to look for another job with better pay, but to think of how they can save from what they currently earn. Why? Because in most cases, when they change jobs, they are still not able to save. So they keep hopping from one home to another, not realizing that there is a financial management growth gap within them. Try this also when your domestic staff approaches you for a pay increase. If you discern that what is needed is better management not an increase, help them grow first, then offer increase at a future time.

Let me conclude by saying that individuals who are allowed to grow possess a better appreciation of life, work, finances and family in general. They approach life with zero entitlement and are committed to faithfully stewarding what they have been handed.
So, what you really want is a domestic staff committed to going through the process of growing, not a beautifully packaged one who is stagnant on the inside.

Cheers to Unlearning, Re-learning and Thriving.

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