I am not always a big fan of the big hurrah that we see in some of the positive videos for our kids, for women, for men ….
They sound awesome. Of course these are the kind of things we want our kids to hear. “You can do anything. ” “You are meant to be great!” It is good to have role models and mentors. They give us examples of people who made it BUT I can never agree with the idea that we should be looking at these people as “THIS is what I am supposed to do,” or “THIS is HOW I am supposed to do it.”
The purpose of studying the lives of others, of looking to what they accomplished, how they accomplished, is not to duplicate their efforts. The purpose is to be inspired.
Inspiration is something that happens within us. It is about the dialogue we have with ourselves about who we are and how we are going to accomplish things. Role models and mentors are catalysts for that dialogue to take place. They are not TUTORS.
So maybe the word we have really messed up on is “teacher.”
I can teach someone how to use a computer, to repeat a series of steps to accomplish a specific task. I cannot give him an overall understanding of working with computers. To accomplish that he is going to have to have his own experiences of failures and successes, trying different things, to learn that. It is still falling back, ultimately, on the experience that goes on within him and not the outer interaction of me writing down or explaining the steps. The fact he can repeat the steps is not the same thing as him LEARNING how to work with a computer.
I cannot teach him to love. I can, however, create opportunities and situations, for him to discover love within himself. His experiences and the story he creates about those experiences and the beliefs he uses to explain and validate those experiences are going to be what teaches him.
I recently saw yet another video, this one about women and their potential. It was all about famous women. One of the women shared that she had simply said to God, “use my life” and he answered her prayer and made her a big television star. The inference is that we can all do the same. Just do it. Overcome adversity, don’t let it stop you, and be . . . Famous/rich/successful/the best/first/?? Good messages right?
Except what about the thousands of other people who offered their life to help others and never got fame or riches or opportunities? What about the people who didn’t plan to be wonderful but spent their lives sacrificing without any appreciation or recognition? Because MOST OF US are never going to be rich, famous, successful, the best, or first. Does that mean we failed as human beings? Did we fail in that God didn’t consider our lives worth using? Or in that we didn’t try hard enough, or were not positive enough?
What I want to say to people is just be who you are. No better, no less, than anyone standing next to you, just completely you. Be at peace with that. Do the things that speak to your heart. Love your heart … and your gut … and your own unique way of seeing and interpreting the world. Speak your truth. Do what gives you joy. Do what you can. Love others and let them love you.
It doesn’t matter what we do because it is only a sick ego world that lines people up and values them by their jobs and how much money they make. It is an ass backwards world that decided being able to run fast, or sing songs or act is worthy of so much more money than a mother, or a teacher, or even the man to collects the garbage. Where would we be without those people who are willing to pick up our garbage? We are still buying into this. We are still holding it up to our children as if it is some magic promise of happiness, as if their life will be worthy only if they are in an office and not as much if they are out building houses.
Happiness comes from knowing who you are, from living with integrity, from doing what you love, from connection with others. THAT is what we should be selling to our kids. And if they get rich and famous on the road to their sense of peace and happiness, it is irrelevant. It is jam for the bread of life. We can live without jam. We cannot live without bread.