Ethan, my first born Son is three years of age by the time I am writing this. So let’s answer this crucial question. Is it possible for him to be anything he wants to be twenty years from now? This is a YES/NO question.
OK, let us twist the question a bit and ask this way:
Are you and I anything we desired to be when we were kids?
My story of pursuit of purpose is a bit bizarre at some level. I honestly desired to be a lawyer when I grew up. When that did not happen, I did not check out on life. I reached out for another dream. Basically I felt more alive in this new dream than the one of being a lawyer. But frankly, I must say that I lowered the dream expectations on myself to suit the bracket that my High School results gave me.
I wanted then to become a Journalist. The leading school of Journalism in the country needed a minimum of C- (Minus), I had a B-(Minus). They did not take me. Blame it on corruption. Another dream went by.
Deep inside of me however, I really knew I could write. I dreamt of being an author but it sounded so far fetched. I could not imagine myself being the brain behind a volume…but I love it.
While all this drama was happening, my parents decided that I should go to Medical College! I have never ever been so repulsed by an idea! For crying out loud, I could not even watch Emergency Room…I cannot stand the sight of people in hospital and blood and injections and the suffering! For that one, I became a rebel. I told my parents off for the very first time in my life…and I had no apologies.Ethan @ 3
Then I became a Christian. And no, it was not out of desperation. I was out of conviction and revelation. The conviction was always there and I can remember it as early as before I was 5 years of age. So no, I was not indoctrinated…but I digress.
Serving God in a personal relationship took me to a spiritual high that I have never experienced before. From that level, all I ever wanted was to “Serve God full time”. So I approached my pastor then and told him. I was ready to quit College for that course of serving the Lord. I honestly felt and knew that I was was called.
My pastor told me to make sure I study to the apex of my niche before I can consider ‘serving Go full-time’. That advice was endorsed again and again by different mentors. Not that I did not want to study….If you ask me, I have been one of the hungriest people and consumers of books that I know. Those who attended college with me would tell you as much….I was a spectacle at the Library to watch…with tens of books opened on my Library desk…
That has not changed. My kindle app is full of books, 3 of which I am yet to read. I have numerous hard copy books that I purchase each month. I have blogs that I read daily. I have websites that I visit for information occasionally. I am a leaner and I will never out grow it!
Then I finished College and after a time lapse of a year or so, I got a job…
Something about jobs, putting food on the table, making it in life, paying bills, climbing corporate ladders, ‘settling down’ (read getting married). For some reason, once people get a job, purpose is normally relegated to the periphery…and even forgotten altogether. In fact, the biggest lie that we tell ourselves is that we would use the proceeds from the job to fund our purpose.
True, sometimes we might nee to do what we can as we move along towards our purpose…but how long is that? How many people get lost in a job? How many forget the reason of their existence?
Looking at my brief story, can you identify any common denominator in all these aspirations that I had?
I would tell you what it is: There was no structured method of helping me dream, Identify my gifts and talents, focus on them and pursue them to completion. What was available that played a pre-eminent part in my life was a structured process of getting a job. It still exists to date.
Ethan is 3 years old. What they taught dad decades ago and what they taught me has not changed. Let’s ask again. Can Ethan be anything he wants to be? Frankly, it would be unfair to answer that question either with Yes/No without a bit of reflection.
Talking about purpose, we must of course talk about the creator. A creator, whether God or man of anything does not create something to be anything. A creator creates something to fit in a specific environment, to operate in a specific way and to do a prescribed thing. That is why the creator having conceived the purpose of something therefore goes ahead and creates it, equipping it with qualities, features and dispositions for its optimal operation, the places it in the most conducive environment for operation.
Human beings have been given a wonderful gift of choice. Another thing that we have been given is desire. So wonderful the creator is that for the most part, the true desire of the heart normally mirrors or longs for the purpose for which the creator created! That is why it is very easy to say that people can be anything that they want to be…because the wanting is part of desiring…but you would wrong to say so. How many of us desire to be great footballers, actors, singers, writers, preachers, lawyers, doctors and so on and we just do not have the capacity? Think about that.
The key word here is can be. Remember there is a creator. But also remember there is freedom to choose. Remember that there are desires and not all of them are in accordance with the original purpose of the creator. However, if purpose is pursued paramount, I believe that everybody can be everything that the creator intended for them to be…and that would be the day that this world has been waiting for.
Today, hoards of people are stuck in tasks, jobs, occupations, careers that they hate with a passion. I was there before. What we need to find out is what we really were intended to be, do and have and center all our lives around it. Believe me, it is not some obscure, minute thing. Even if it was, you would not believe the liberating power of joy and happiness doing what you love being exactly what you were meant to be.
I know of a country where a job title is enough for some people even without perks. Function is much more important than a title. Function should and must precede a title. If you do it the other way round, you get lost. That’s why I can emphatically tell you that Ethan cannot be anything he wants to be! He was meant to function in a certain way. Therefore he is filled with certain talents, abilities and gifts to enable him operate in his function. The other day I was so cross with some Christians who were criticizing Joel Osteen for not preaching fire and brimstone, leading people to salvation. You would as well do the same with me…coz I hardly do it and according to you, I am supposed to! No am not! A mouth is for talking, not for walking. Legs are for walking, not for grasping things. Can you clap with your legs?
Our society seldom focuses on people’s functions and purposes. What we do is that we fill them up with information, academia and expect them to churn out results. When they do, we call them successful. They then faithfully ‘disciple’ the next generation through the same arduous life. What we need to do is inquire exactly why people were born with what they have where they are. Thereafter, we need to nurture what they do have towards fulfilling their function. Academia should be basic but it should never supersede people’s functionality.
Therefore, the environment under which Ethan and Serah live in should be such that it fosters them, bringing out the very best of their talents, gifts, abilities to ultimately fulfill what their creator intended for them to do.
The words which me as a parent speak to these kids daily should be empowering enough, shedding more light on function rather than title.
No, Ethan cannot be anything he wants to be…he must be everything he was intended to be.