Train Up: Be a Great Barista


Denice McClure

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction according to Newton’s Third Law. Science is predictable. Life is not that simple. We have situations that happen to us; some good and some bad. The great thing is we can choose how we react to each situation. As they say in Jamaica, “There are no problems, only situations.”

As I said in the beginning of this series, I’ll share with you people who have taught me lessons in life that I have learned from to grow my business. Someday, you will remember lessons that you had no idea they were going to help you navigate through your own situations. Let me share with you how my Dad, who was first generation Italian, taught me about how to handle situations that could result in positive changes when personal growth was the outcome of the solution to any situation.

Let’s transport to my first year in grade school. One day I came home from school crying. I was in first grade and my sister was in kindergarten. My dad was the president of the school board. My sister was brought to my class room. We were called to the front of the class. The teacher told my class that we weren’t going to have school for a month because our father didn’t approve teacher raises for their new contract. We didn’t know what a raise was or a contract. We just knew we could play and learn together. The kids boo’d us. It was horrible.

My dad didn’t get mad or try to explain. Instead he asked me to fill a pot with water and put it on the stove to boil. Then he handed me carrots to chop. When I was done, he asked me to count out 12 eggs and 250 coffee beans. I finally asked him what we were making. He said “Denice, if you boil carrots, will you change the water somehow? What if you boil the eggs? Will you change the water? Now what will you get if you add the coffee beans to the boiling water?”

I was so puzzled. I was crying because my friends were mean to me and he was doing some weird old Italian thing. He then said, “The carrots will get soft. We aren’t people that get soft and allow others to roll over us. We also aren’t people that will get hardened by tough situations. It is better to seek to understand the other person’s perspective than to have them understand where you are coming from.”

I asked him, “What about the coffee beans?”

He said, “The beans changed the water to become something that many would share and enjoy together. Change can be good or change can be bad, but if you can make a good cup of coffee every time change happens, life is full of sweetness for all.”

My dad was full of great lessons growing up. Ironically, my first grade teacher popped into my life when I ended up working at the same company her husband worked for. One day she was telling the story of her first strike. She said she was asked by the Teacher’s Union to embarrass two little girls and had always regretted it. There was so much regret on her face. She didn’t know I was one of the girls due to my new last name. Later that evening, I introduced myself and told her that I understood now and I forgave her. It was a beautiful moment.

My wish for you all is to become bigger Coffee Connoisseurs than my generation. I have a COFFEE CHALLENGE for you: Go to Coffee Time in Land O’ Lakes. Ask the owners how making coffee has impacted their lives and the lives of their customers. Order a drink and post the video on the Facebook page called Train Up in Land O’ Lakes.

TRAIN UP is a series of stories told in an attempt to bring Proverbs 22:6 to life for young people that have an entrepreneurial spirit.

Contact Denice at with comments.


Leave a Reply