About 15 years ago, I had worked at Arizona Industries f/t Blind. A couple of years earlier, I had moved to Phoenix AZ. I was having difficulty in getting a job. I simply didn’t have any real job history and needed someone who’s open to hiring visually impaired individuals. It was suggested that give Pam and Chuck, a call. These two are in charge of the work adjustment program at Arizona Industries f/t Blind.
The idea was build a work history that would make it easier to get a job, elsewhere. Pam and Chuck understood I was seeking a job in the computer field. The problem is, AIB is more geared to manufacturing and not professional office work. I got to do a variety of light assembly work and I was paid on a piece rate. About every month, I would come up for evaluation on my performance.
I admit to being quite anxious about my first evaluation. It had nothing to do with how well I did. It had to do with a very uncomfortable feeling of being under a microscope. Though I didn’t realize it, God placed it on my heart to talk with my supervisor Chuck. I said, “It’s like I’m being examined to see what’s wrong.”
It is a good thing I talked earlier. By being honest, I opened the door for them to help me overcome a personal fear. Though I didn’t know it, I had also opened a door for God to heal my heart. How did they do this? It can be best summed up by the following proverb:
18 Reckless words pierce like a sword,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverb 12:18)
On that day, Chuck said something very important. “Please understand that not all criticism is bad. There is a difference between a reckless word thrown at a person and a negative word that is meant to help,” said Chuck. “It is good to hear what you’re doing right; however it needs to be balanced with what you’re doing wrong.”
Here is why. While it is great to hear what we’re doing right, for it can be a way to build confidence and encourage a person to persevere. However, it is also important to hear what’s done wrong. Otherwise, how is a man to learn and correct his errors?
Chuck’s words of corrections were both instructive and help me to see. Because they were gently given, I was able to receive what I needed to hear. His words were not the reckless words that would have me cringing.
In my case, I did quite well cranking out the assembled items. However, my speed was having a negative impact on the quality of my work. I needed to slow down, a bit. I felt encouraged to try and slow down; however I never did get to where I was productive in a manufacturing environment.
Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Our words can be used to build someone up or rip the person to shred. Chuck could have used his words to berate me, for poor performance. Instead, he used his words to promote healing and it became a source of instruction. Chuck used his words to help me appreciate both my strengths and weakness. His words helped me, in making a right assessment about what field to enter and not enter.
Years later, I would hear how God place people in authority to do good for those under them. I’d say that Chuck and Pam of Arizona Industries f/t Blind are good example of this. God has definitely helped me by sending me to them.