In his very insightful business book 18 Minutes, Peter Bregman exposes the problem that many men and women face in their careers, their roles in life, and their true identities. The problem we face, says Bregman, is that we often define ourselves entirely based upon what we do: “We have become our work, our professions. Connected 24/7 via BlackBerry, obsessively checking emails and voice mails, we have left no space for other parts of ourselves.”
I must confess that nine out of ten times when I meet someone, my first question is, “What do you do?” It is almost never, ever, “Who are you?”
And yet that is THE question that truly matters. That is the question that trumps the “what do you do” question. That is the question that we want to stress, underline, highlight, bold face, and put in ALL CAPS when it comes to the children we are raising. But… it is also the question that takes a lot more work, a lot more patience, a lot more… waiting.
A huge responsibility for us as dads and moms is to guide our kids to asking the right question. This means helping them develop a bigger answer to their life quest than simply a job title or a job description.
One of the ways we do this is modeling it ourselves. And this is hard because the world in which we live really does size and measure us up based upon titles, the number of rungs up the proverbial ladder we have climbed, and the success we have (or haven’t) achieved.
Bregman’s insight is helpful: We can diversify! Our aim should be to live all of life well. By no means does this mean we shouldn’t have focus in our lives, but it means that we should be aware of the possible and probable truth that we all can get over-focused on one aspect of our lives and disregard the other crucial areas of life.
As a kid growing up, I probably had a hundred or maybe even a thousand people ask me, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” (Some people are still asking me that question! Haha!). But I only had a few people (and I can count them on one hand) ask me, “Who do you want to become when you grow up?”
Let’s aim at asking our kids THAT question: “Who do you want to become?”
And then… let’s work at modeling the answer. Because it is the answer to that question that really matters!
All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/horiavarlan/4273168957