COLUMN: Are you overdrawn?

Back in the mid to late 1980s, I was attending La Tech and working at Ruston State Bank on a part-time basis to help pay for school.  I worked as a teller for my first three years, and I worked in internal audit my senior year.  This period was a time when ATM machines and direct deposit were just being introduced to the market.  Thus, almost everyone came to the bank on a regular basis to make deposits and withdrawals to/from their account.  

I learned quite a lot working a drive through window.  With the long lines on pay day, I learned to focus on one customer at a time and not let the length of the line cause me to make mistakes.  I learned to ensure the money was correct before sending that canister out because there was no way to recall it.  I also helped customers learn about banking.  I had one customer that didn’t understand how they could not have money in their account because they had checks left in their book. I had another customer request to withdraw from an overdrawn account with a promise to make a deposit on pay day (that is a loan and is handled by another department).

The basic transactions each day were deposits and withdrawals.  While that fact remains true in banking regardless of the technology in place, the same type of transactions take place each day in relationships.  People are making deposits into relationships and withdrawals from relationships every day.  Deposits are those conversations and actions we engage in to encourage, enlighten, build-up, and invest in others.  Withdrawals are those conversations, requests, and expectations we have or project toward others that take their energy, insight, knowledge, or time.  

Relationships in life are a constant series of deposits and withdrawals, and each of us should be in positions of depositing and withdrawing at different times.  The real question we need to ask ourselves is whether we are making more deposits in others than withdrawals from others.  Just like in banking, we need to deposit more than we withdrawal.  There will be stages in life when we aren’t able to accomplish more deposits, but over time, depositing in others should be our goal.  

We can make these deposits in any number of ways including encouraging text messages, phone calls, and hand-written notes.  We can make deposits by being available for others with our time, talents, and treasures (finances).  We make deposits asking open-ended questions and actively listening to the response.  We make deposits by being intentional with direct acts of service, elevating the needs of others over ourselves, and showing interest in the life of someone else.  We can also make deposits by sharing our knowledge, mentoring, and equipping others to be successful.  Anytime we are investing in others emotionally, intellectually, or socially, we are making a deposit.

Where are you going to make a deposit today?  If you need to start a daily habit of investing in others, just start with one intentional action each day targeted at investing in someone else.  It doesn’t have to be a major deposit but can start with something small.  The key is to just keep repeating it day after day until you have a regular habit of making daily deposits.  Make a withdrawal when you need to (nothing wrong there), but let’s be sure we are making more deposits!  Your family, coworkers, neighbors, and others in the community will benefit from your deposits.  Deposits leave people energized and encouraged.  The overuse of withdrawals can leave people exhausted and empty. Where can you start making deposits?