Many of us will find ourselves on college campuses in the next few weeks sending our kids and grandkids, nieces and nephews out into the world. While doing some spring housecleaning this past weekend, I came upon a letter from St. Louis friends, Drew and Meg Smith. Linda and I thought it terrific; warm and wise advice.
Barbie and Kevin:
OK…its food for thought…what to do with the high caliber education you are in the process of receiving. Your education and welfare is the highest financial priority your Mother and I have – not because of the value of it in and of itself – many live in the illusion education is the end point. We believe it is the launch point. A launch point both into life self-sufficiency and an important prerequisite in becoming the God inspired person you are.
Sooo…what is next for you? When Meg and I were in your shoes near the end of college, the only possibility we conceived for ourselves after graduation was entering the working world, finding the best paying and most exciting job we could. 5 years later our natural roles seemed to become “mother” for Meg and “provider” for me (all though the world seemed to value Meg's performance as “provider” higher than mine – she always earned a higher salary than me…smart gal that one). I think we both over time realized self worth isn't measured in dollars paid, no salary makes a job worth it if we are not satisfied. Hitting the 30's-40's seems to make us all think about our “calling” in life. I had a phenomenal time as was well trained as a manager at Procter and Gamble then as a business owner, a role I assumed I would play for the rest of my life. I look back now and realize it was all a training ground God set up for me to be prepared for the real game I am in now.
Meg found her calling early as Mother, caregiver. I found mine in serving the poor. Slogging through tough college courses we couldn't see those callings (OK, maybe Meg had it on her wish list, I was clueless).
Things have changed. My fathers generation saw “greater callings” by writing checks to their favorite causes during their working life or as something to do after “retirement age”. My generation saw it as part of the “second half” – first be “successful” (financially) then be “significant”.
Your generation has choices-launch into business/secular career then move onto “significance” later or chase your heart upon graduation – engage in the significant first then do a secular career and maybe later with more experience return to your passion with greater experience and assets – or- take the leap into “significance” and stay there (I have come to realize all worthy endeavors – for your profit or God's are never short of funding once a great vision is embraced and executed – and you have family resources to back you so you don't have to pass up a passion out of fear it doesn't pay well) perhaps you will be one of the lucky ones who finds their secular career as a “calling”. Your choice. Be assured we will be your greatest cheerleaders!
Below is a regular email I get from Bob Buford, the guy who coined the term “half time” and “second half” career. He has helped change the paradigm of “what is possible” for my generation and now he is challenging your generation (what he calls “Millennial's Rising”) – He helped shape my vision in a big way.
As you wrestle with your choices remember you are a part of the 1% of the world's population blessed to be given these options.
Mom and Dad
So What About You?
You might find this a favorable season to send a letter to a college graduate you care about.