Yesterday, I was asked to speak to the high school volunteers and their parents at our annual Staff Recognition Day. I sadly had procrastinated on what to say and I found myself on Facebook…where I believe most of us procrastinators eventually end up. Before I knew it I found myself reading an article from the New York Times called The Moral Bucket List.
Upon reading it, I knew exactly what to share with our group of extraordinary volunteers and I thought it was worth sharing with you. The article talked about “resume virtues versus eulogy virtues.” It was written by David Brooks, who was more or less in search of enlightenment after finding career success, he began to ask what really mattered? He wondered why do some rare people emanate that light, joy, radiance and others do not.
Brooks goes onto say, “ Our culture and our educational systems spend more time teaching the skills and strategies you need for career success rather than the qualities you need to radiate that sort of inner light. Many of us are clearer on how to build an external career than on how to build inner character”.
The more I read the article, the clearer it became to me that everything he was searching for was in fact exactly the skills that our non-profit teaches to its 5th, 6th and 7th grade students. More than that it was what we ask our high school staff to pass onto their younger mentors.
The author posed three questions:
- “What values bring happiness and character?”
- “Have you developed deep connections that hold you up in times of challenge and push you toward the good?”
- Lastly the author asks, “People on the road to inner light do not find their vocations by asking, what do I want from life? They ask, what is life asking of me? How can I match my intrinsic talent with one of the world’s deep needs?
I know these seem to be deep questions to ask to teenagers. Yet, as I spoke to them about finding their gifts and sharing them with the world, I looked at an audience of nodding heads. They already understood what “radiating light and joy” was that author was so desperately in search of ……because each of them was already aglow.
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