Trudy Cathy White, the daughter of Chick-fil-A’s founder, revealed in an interview with The Christian Post the most valuable life lesson her father taught her and the secret to the national fast food restaurant’s success.
White, the only daughter of S. Truett Cathy and his wife, Jeannette, released her first book, titled Climb Every Mountain: Finding God Faithful in the Journey of Life, in which she takes a candid look at her life and the struggles she’s faced over the decades.
The book journeys through White’s childhood growing up with her two brothers on the family’s farm in Georgia and details some of her adolescent experiences. She also tells how at age 19, she convinced her father to let her run a Chick-fil-A restaurant. White met her future husband at that restaurant and the couple later raised four children together.
White and her husband, John, also lived in Brazil for a time where they served as missionaries. Their work experiences in the U.S. and with foreign missions led them to co-found two nonprofit groups — Lifeshape, which offers a multitude of service projects worldwide, and Impact 360 Institute, which offers gap-year fellowships to equip young adults “to become Christ-centered servant leaders.”
She felt it was time to share her life story and her memoir tackles such topics as identity, godly parenting, leaving a legacy, adversity, aging and coping with grief.
Below is an edited transcript of CP‘s interview with White:
CP: Will you tell us about your testimony?
TW: I was raised in a home where I was taught much about the love of God. I was about 7-and-a-half when I realized I wanted to embrace the kind of love that I had heard about from this Heavenly Father.
I knew that Jesus loves me, that He had died on the cross for me, and that He was offering me the gift of eternal life. I knew that if I would believe that, I would receive that.
It’s been a joy to walk with the Lord since I was a young child. But I’ve not always made the decisions I should’ve made as a follower of Christ. However, it’s kept me from making some that I might have made if I wasn’t following Him, for sure.
CP: People throughout America love Chick-fil-A. We have to ask, what’s the secret?
TW: We do appreciate the fact that we feel like God is blessing our business. I don’t know that there’s really a secret to it. My dad built this business based on biblical principles. He felt like his business decisions kind of go hand in hand with biblical principles. That’s no secret. There’s a lot of things that we are taught in God’s Word and we’ve been able to put it into practice in our business.
Above everything, I think at Chick-fil-A we’ve gotten real clarity of our purpose of why we’re in business. That’s been really important to us. Back in the early ’80s, we recognized the fact that we didn’t have a real clear direction as to why we were in business. But we know today that we’re in business to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that’s been trusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.
We love selling chicken but we’re really more in the people business.
CP: How has Chick-fil-A changed your life?
TW: I don’t know that it’s changed me as much as it’s maybe given me a perspective to be very much aware that God owns everything. So watching this business grow has been really exciting because we feel like the Lord is just giving us more and more opportunity of responsibility to manage what He’s entrusted to us.
That’s truth in all of life. We have to realize that the very God who created us is the very God who gives us talents and gifts to be used, to honor Him.
I think one of the reasons I’ve written this book, Climb Every Mountain, is because I really want to steward well my opportunity of influence with other people. So by opening myself up and just sharing some of life’s struggles and challenges that I’ve dealt with through the years, I hope it’ll be very helpful for someone else to realize that even though we all have a lot of mountains to climb in life, you can always find God’s faithful in that journey.
CP: What are the most valuable lessons you learned from your father?
TW: I think the most important thing we have to do is to be faithful to the calling that God has put on our hearts and to live that out consistently. I greatly admired my dad as one who lived a very consistent life. It didn’t matter whether he was at home, whether he was at the office, or whether he was in a meeting with other CEOs, he was just always the same.
I think that we bear great witness to who God is and His faithfulness when we can be faithful as well in how we live out our life. One of the things that my parents taught us is that the important things can’t be bought with dollars and cents. The important things in life are people looking for joy, peace and hope, and you won’t find those things for sale or in a store. Those things you will find in the truth of God’s Word and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jeannie Law