Monday, May 27, 2019

success

I am nerding out, as Randy says. I have been listening to this podcast, and I was there when it was created! Coolness. The subject was success, on how do you want to be when you grow up rather than what. I hear quite a bit of talk right now about this topic -- success, meaning, purpose in life.  

I thought this part of the dialog was interesting:

Ms. Pope: Yeah. I always start my talks out with “How do you define success?” And if I say it to students in a student assembly, without fail, usually, the top couple of answers are money, grades, test scores, where you go to college, something like that. And that’s been consistent, now, for 15 years.

And when I ask the same question to the parents — and usually, it is the parents of those kids, who are coming at the same school that night — it’s never that. Now, they could be lying; they don’t want to say “money,” when — but usually —

Ms. Tippett: “I want my kid to make a lot of money.” [laughs] Right.

Ms. Pope: No one’s going to stand up and say that out loud. But they say happiness, well-being, give back to society, love and be loved — really different from what we’re hearing from the kids.

What do you think of that? I wonder what message I sent to my children as they grew up, what message are they sending to their children, and what about myself? What do I think will make me feel I have a successful life? I am grateful to my parents for the message they sent me and my siblings as I grew up. I don’t know if they said it in so many words, but I knew that they supported us in all we wanted to do, and did not put pressure on us to achieve some kind of outwardly “lofty” career. I knew that they prayed we would keep our faith in God that they themselves modeled.

This sentiment was strengthened in me as I went through the death of my brother. Most of you know he died of ALS when he was 52. Dan struggled in school all his life (looking back, my mother thinks he had dyslexia but that was pretty much unknown at that time). He became a worker at an aluminum factory. He had a home in the country with animals and work he loved, a loving family life, and was a man of faith. When he was dying, his co-workers were faithful friends. They visited him regularly and supported his wife Kathy in whatever way they could. They pooled their money to have a wheelchair ramp built on Dan’s home when that was needed. Our family was grateful for their faithfulness and love. It reminded me that relationships and the way you live your life are so much more important than the job you happen to have.

The common factor here, it seems to me (and perhaps some may think it is morbid), is what you will feel when you look back on your life. When I die, I want to look forward to meeting God, and hearing him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” That will be success. I would have no hope for that to come true without the love of God being poured into me and reflected out of me. Praise God for his love.


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