As a Chaplain, I cornered the crane operator 60 metres up in the air

One of the privileges of a Corporate Chaplain is the places I get to walk in order to be effective.

I chose to corner the crane operator in his cabin 60 metres in the air, it’s what I call having a captive audience.

To be honest, I hated climbing the crane, there’s just something psychological about it, but you do what you have to do.

When I reached the cabin unannounced and knocked on the operators door window, the young man whom I’ve chatted with around the construction sites many times seemed surprised to see me at the top of the crane but his smile suggested he was glad to see me.

I said to him, “I’ve come to see you and have a chat” he instantly got on his two way and said “Hey guys, have a break Tom’s come up to have a talk with me”.

As anyone would know, when the crane stops so does the site, but sometimes you need to do something different to influence a person’s life. They need to know they are not just a number and valued as an individual.

The young man not only had a surprised look on his face but was eager to chat. We walked out of his cabin and leaned on the railing outside both facing the city, it’s something I like doing when asking the hard questions. (Stand by their side and don’t stare at them)

I asked the question “What do you want?” He stared at the sky and instantly tears welled up in his eyes. I ask him again “What do you want?”

The young man starts to feel trust and turns to me and says “I just want to be a good husband and father” and starts sharing his personal struggles, his shame and condemnation.

This man not even twenty six years of age, married with children, willing to work fifty, sixty hours a week. He has natural leadership skills and demands respect among his coworkers and he has it. Yet as we look over the city he feels the pain that he’s not cutting it where it counts most, marriage and fatherhood.

We were able to talk for a while with some pragmatic considerations how to be the husband and father he desperately desires and I gave him a big hug. I shared a prayer of hope with his permission, both in tears.

This young man’s story too regular, he like many other young men I’ve worked with over the years are quick to be open up when they connect with authentic and empathetic leadership.

My hope for every workplace, especially in the construction industry is that we take care of our fellow workers with love, even if it’s tough love from time to time, the motive must come from a heart that cares.

I’m of the opinion that companies do themselves an injustice when they try to outsource the mental health and wellbeing of their workers,m. It must be nurtured into the fabric of every leader and worker if the workplace is to be a safe wholesome space.

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