How exactly did this play out? Let me give you an example. There was an incident a long time ago that I remember with complete clarity to this day. It was a summer day. My best friend was over at our house and we were playing basketball in our driveway. We were probably about 14 years old, getting ready to enter the 9th or 10th grade. So this would have been around 1974 (obviously the incident has stayed with me much more than the actual dates). I decided to go into the house to get us something to drink.
When I walked in the back door I saw that my sister was on the family phone. For anyone reading this who is younger than 30 or 35 years old, the family phone was the only phone. There were no cell phones in 1974 and the phone was not push-button. It was one of those phones you may have only seen in museums. It had a round rotary dial and you dialed one number at a time. The phone was mounted to the wall in our kitchen and there were rules around using it. With 11 people in the house, Mom and Dad had priority and the kids were limited to the amount of time they could talk.
I do remember that this was a Saturday because Mom and Dad were out grocery shopping. I realized when I walked in that my sister was talking with a friend ofhers who I also knew. I decided I wanted to get in on the conversation and started to playfully try to wrestle the phone from my sister. We were laughing and going back and forth trying to get the phone from each other when all of a sudden I saw the extreme look of fear on my sister’s face. I immediately turned around and saw my dad standing there, just looking at us. I got a sick feeling in my stomach because I knew what was about to happen. My dad had bags of groceries under both arms. He casually set them down and walked right up to me, almost nose to nose.
He proceeded to do two things which seemed to last for an excruciatingly long time. He was yelling at the top of his lungs about how the phone was not a toy and how irresponsible I was for using it that way, and he was continuously slapping me across the face. One after another after another after another... After he was finished, I just stood there for a minute. A lot was going on in my head: fear, humiliation, hatred, pain... I wasn’t sure what to do and I still had one more little problem—my best friend was waiting for me outside, oblivious to what had just taken place.
This was by no means the right way to learn about a positive attitude. But sometimes life isn’t fair and curve balls tend to come your way. You can either choose to give up and withdraw, or you can suck it up and try to move forward the best way that you can. I made the decision to move forward and make the best out of a somewhat bad situation. I walked back out to our driveway, and I can’t remember exactly what I said to my buddy, but I’m sure it was something lighthearted and funny. Being the best friend that he was then—and still is to this day—I’m sure that he could tell by the deep red handprints on my face what had just transpired, but he never said a word. And as Forrest Gump so famously said once, “that’s all I’m gonna say about that.”
Title: 10 Bits of Wisdom from the Shoe Shine Guy
Author: John Early
Genre: Spiritual / Inspirational
John Early worked in the corporate world for over 25 years. From the outside looking in, it seemed as though he had it all: the beautiful family, the magnificent home, the nice cars and great vacations, the fabulous income with the big 401k. He had what most would consider the American Dream. This was John’s idea of a dream, and this dream was all about him. Then suddenly, in an instant, like the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus, John had an encounter with God that transformed his life forever. John takes the reader through that transformation and the total impact it had on not only his life, but on the lives of those around him, especially those closest to him-his wife and children. He lays out the 10 key bits of wisdom that were instrumental in reconciling and rebuilding those broken relationships. His road on this journey is paved with: Knowing your purpose, Character, Attitude, Goals, Teamwork and Trust, Respect, Courage, Regrets, Reconciliation, and Grace. This book shows all of us, no matter our circumstances or how dark our days may seem, that God is brighter still. Let God start to transform your life.
John moved to Houston, Texas in 1980 at the age of 21. He worked in sales for a manufacturers rep firm selling oil equipment. Sales territory was most of South Texas, driving 4000-5000 miles per month. John had the opportunity to call on customers that were located in remote areas of South Texas as well as the corporate offices of some of the largest oil and gas companies in the world located Houston, Texas.
In 1986 he moved back to Michigan and went to work as a mortgage consultant for a small mortgage company, Tranex Financial and worked there for 13 years. Starting out as a mortgage consultant he moved into training then became an officer of the company and eventually bought the firm. In 1998, he merged Tranex into the Hantz Financial Group.
He worked with Hantz Financial as a Vice President and financial consultant until December of 2010 focusing on marketing and client relationships. His team assisted high net worth clients with their tax planning, estate planning, investment strategies and business owner concerns. Providing advice to clients who needed sophisticated financial planning. While at Hantz Financial the company grew from 100 employees to over 500 and John was able to help build one of the largest practices within the firm.
In April of 2011 he created The Shoe Shine Guys. A mobile shoe shine service that started with an idea, one truck and a handful of clients. He now has three vehicles, a full service cobbler store and hundreds of clients. His company continues to add new clients every month and receive calls at least once a quarter about expanding to other parts of the country.
John attended Saginaw Valley State University. He has been married to his beautiful wife, Janet, for more than 32 years and they have two grown children, a son in law, and a grandson.
A sports enthusiast, John was an avid handball player for over 20 years (new titanium knee and work have sidelined him for a while) and was the Canadian national doubles champion in 1999.