Ever heard, or said, this statement?"I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up?" I've heard it from guys many, many, many times. So, why is that an acceptable way for us guys to answer "What do you do?" Is it just a politer form of: "I haven't a clue!" And it doesn't tend to come from 18 year olds... more likely 45 year olds, 55 year olds...
Really, what's being said is: "I don't know what I'm great at." Or "I don't know what I am supposed to do with my life.... and time is running out." "I don't have a higher purpose" "I never took that class on finding my calling in life."
So, why do so many men NOT grow up in this way? I'd like to suggest three things..
1. No one ever helped us discover (or engage) a bigger dream: We skipped right through that part of life... too busy taking classes, playing sports, working to make some extra dough, or dating Mary Lou. Even our religious and spiritual training didn't do much(probably nothing) to help us in this area. As time moved on we just became busy working, making "a living," trying to stay "in shape," making some extra dough and trying to keep Mary Lou happy. Besides, we figured that a dream was just an egotistical and selfish thing and not much related to real practicality. So, when we lost our job, instead of seeing it as an opportunity really focus our efforts on honing in on our God-given dream, we called a "head hunter" learned how to write a resume.. and moved on. Instead of dreaming "dangerous dreams" (as T.E. Lawrence called them) or of addressing the world's largest needs, we settled for a reasonable vacation once in a while.
2. We never declared our values: If values involve deciding what matters most to us, never declaring them relates to the saying, "If you shoot for nothing you'll hit it every time!" And when we never decide what's MOST important to us, we get to float along seeing what makes us feel happy now.... If we don't draw a line in the sand and say, "Here's what I stand for," we'll stand for this... then for that... depending on how we feel.
If my family isn't a high value, I'll let them wait when they demand too much.
If faith isn't a value, I won't do what it takes to nurture a relationship with God.
If serving others isn't a value, I won't reach out to others I can help.
3. We don't see the benefits of being grown up. Frankly, if "grown ups" are those frowning, responsible types, why would we seek to grow up? "Pass me a beer and the chips please!" BUT, if we were to redefine grown-ups as purposeful, passionate and joy-filled people, who do what they love and love what they do... then that might be kind of attractive. Are there a few good real models of dreaming, value-driven and adventurous men who will lead the rest? I'd want to find what I could "be when I grow up" if real grown-ups didn't just walk away, but walked with others ready and willing to take that journey.
And if that happened, some day, those 18 years olds will 1. Believe in the beauty of their own dreams (Eleanor Roosevelt), 2. Choose their values and decide what matters most in their life before they get to mid-age crisis, have an affair, or become addicted to something much smaller... and 3. Redefine growing up to include living life with purpose and passion.
But, then again, I seriously wonder if it's too late for my generation....
Well, those are three reasons I see. Do you see some others?
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