If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I read this quote a few days ago and I just can’t stop thinking of it. The power of its message is profound and grossly underutilized.
Passions and longings of the heart … do we try to instill them into our children? Do we even cultivate them in ourselves anymore?
I think that this principle applies to every area of life – Christianity, raising children, and our careers, just to name a few.
Christianity – There is a movement of sorts now to replace “religion” with “relationship with God.” What does this mean? It means that many churches have taught children the ins and outs of what being a “good Christian” looks like but have unintentionally forgotten to teach them why it even matters. Studies show that increasingly high percentages of young adults leave the church because they don’t know how it fits with real life. They have been taught figuratively how to build the boat, but they don’t know why they would ever use it. Undoubtedly, it is easier to teach a list of dos and don’ts. It is easier to require our kids to study the Bible. But if we have neglected to cultivate and model a longing to know God within their hearts we have missed the entire point.
Raising Children – Do children of today dream anymore? Sometimes I wonder if we have gotten so busy teaching them how to thrive in the society that we have stopped letting them dream. Ultimately, if kids no longer dream, they will not be able to live, let alone thrive. I’m afraid that, in a well-intentioned effort to protect the very weak among us, we have created a society that recognizes the ordinary more than the great. By trying to protect the young and innocent we have gone against the natural instincts telling them that competitive sports have no winner. Hopefully, events such as the recent Super Bowl and the upcoming Olympics still inspire kids to dream. For it is only in dreaming and longing for more that we can achieve our very best.
Career – I think that many people in today’s society lack real purpose. Sure, they may know the mechanics of what they need to do on a daily basis, but do they really know why they are doing it. Unfortunately, studies show that the majority of Americans are disengaged at work … they have lost the longing to do more. They know how to figuratively build the boat but they no longer know what it feels like to ride the waves in one.In a world focused on the how, will you dare to be a person who lives for the why? Click To Tweet
Don’t be afraid to dream – long for more and be the best you that God created you to be!