The Development of a Service Mindset: Employment During High School and 'Pulling My Own Weight,'2004
Updated: Jan 4
Good afternoon, I hope that this message finds you well. 1. If the inclusion of this additional background narrative might not be intrusive, I ought to be preparing for midterms both in Criminal Law and for Civil Procedure, which will take place in the coming week, and I could be using this time in order to revise the notes that I have taken for the course.
2. However, instead, I am writing in this manuscript in the event that this narrative might be of interest to someone else.
3. I was raised by my mother, Deatrice Angela Sanks, in both Colorado Springs, Colorado and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I was an energetic and yet thoughtful young man, and while through each stage of my childhood I had a coterie of friends with whom I would wrestle, play video games, or later, race cars with, I would nevertheless spend much of my time by myself reading/ I felt a similar sentiment to that which Henry David Thoreau expressed about his own childhood:
4. I think that no experience which I have today comes up to, or is comparable with, the true experiences of my boyhood. In youth, before I lost any of my senses, I can remember that I was all alive, and inhabited my body with inexpressible satisfaction; both its weariness and its refreshment were sweet to me.
(Henry David Thoreau's Journal: 16 July 1851)
5. Throughout the years, first in Denver, Colorado and thereafter in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I had numerous friends who came from all ethnicities and every socioeconomic states. For example, my mother had worked hard as a pharmaceutical chemist in order to support our family in a modest middle-class home in Colorado, and when Pokémon was in fashion during the late 1990s, two friends in the neighborhood, Adrian Benipayo and Joseph Knighten, would often come over to my house to visit and play Pokémon Stadium for hours on end while my mother ordered Papa John’s pizza for us. Later, in 2004 I was fortunate to have been placed in a high-ranking high school in Cooper City, Florida, where an eclectic group of high school classmates and I would ride our bikes from the western edge of Fort Lauderdale where we lived (in Cooper City) ten miles east to the Dania Beach pier. My childhood was largely a happy experience.
6. With the above being stated, I will be honest in acknowledging that throughout much my life I have not have met my mother’s approval.
7. In the summer of 1990, shortly after my birth, my mother and my father, Martin, unfortunately separated . As a result, my mother assumed exclusive custody of me when she was beginning her own life at twenty-three years old and as a byproduct of this unique upbringing, for all intents and purposes my mother and I grew up with one another.
8. The significant commitment of time that my mother contributed toward my development, when she could have been investing said resources toward her own happiness, was a visible reminder of the necessity to ensure that I ‘pulled my own weight’ within the family.
9. For example, as soon as I became legally permitted to work at the age of fifteen, in my sophomore year of high school, I secured my first job at a grill operator at a Wendy’s restaurant in order to reduce the financial burden that my existence placed upon my mother. I continued working continually from that date until the present.
10. My second job was as a sales clerk and an inventory management specialist at a nearby CVS Pharmacy; third, I bussed tables at a four-star restaurant at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino; forth, I sold high-end home entertainment equipment at a Bose retail outlet store; and finally I taught as a certified as a Motorcycle Safety Instructor with the Motorcycle Training Institute. I successfully continued pursuing my academic goals during this time and I graduated from Cooper City High School in the spring of 2008.
11. In my youth I wanted the positive appraisal of my mother and I wanted little else than to demonstrate that I was worthy of her time and attention. This experience is, in many ways, reminiscent of the relationship between character ‘Gru’ of Despicable Me and his mother. As a brief primer to my meaning, I wanted nothing more than to be a valued member of the family and a high-performing team member. Therefore, I tried hard to succeed in academic environments, in attending to household chores, in pursuing athletics, and in taking on extra responsibilities within professional roles. I will not recount my resume and academic transcripts throughout my life here: however, suffice to say, even after having graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in astronautical engineering, being selected for pilot training, graduating from business school, even today I have not yet performed to a sufficient degree in order to have proven as a hard-working son in the eyes of my mother. As a videographic illustration, I have included a short video which summarizes many of the interactions that I have had with my mother during my childhood:
12. I understand now that my upbringing has led me to seek a role as a valued asset in my local community. I understand that in my own pursuit of being seen as an asset, my underlying goal was, reciprocally, to ensure that I felt valued and appreciated. In this pursuit I often subverted my own interests and goals such that I might ensure that others were best taken care of. This approach has led me to become a leader in many of the environments that I have joined, and impacted my career trajectory while in the United States Air Force, which I will highlight in a following post.
Chief Master Sergeant Max Grindstaff and me at the United States Air Force Academy graduation ceremony at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado; 28 May 2015
13. Thank you for your time in reading this post and please have a good day. Sincerely,