There are many such boys and girls, full of high hopes, lovely possibilities, and earnest plans, pausing a moment before they push their little boats from the safe shore. Let those who launch them see to it that they have good health to man the oars, good education for ballast, and good principles as pilots to guide them as they voyage down an ever-widening river to the sea.
Words both wise and true, don't you think?
I have been considering today that the second sentence ought to be my mission statement, since I serve as both parent and teacher. As we all know it is far too easy to get turned aside by the minutiae of life. Often, I allow the tricky trivialities to have too much power in the day to day. These little tempests in teacups are tricky because they seem important -- critical, even -- at the time, but are mere and momentary distractions, blips in the big picture.
If I reduce down to the essentials those things I want my children to carry with them when they push their boats into the stream, it comes to this:
- Your faith is not only the foundation of your life, it is the structural support. Stand firm in its truth.
- Your education is a lifelong pursuit. Never stop learning.
- Your principles define your character. Strive to be Christ-like in all you do.
But if I say all this and don't live it myself, then all my words are like chaff in the wind. Do I live like my faith is the structural support in my life? Do I pursue my own education? Do I exemplify Christ in my life? My answers, as always, tend to be, Not as much as I want to. Not as much as I need to.
How much better we'd all be if I focused on the essentials and not the ephemera; if I talked less and lived more; and if I welcomed in grace and ushered out the useless pursuit of perfection.
What a blessing that would be.