Wednesday, June 18, 2008

How Far

Today's Hump Day Hmm asks us to consider how far we would "go for kids/family/loved one/self?" The easy answer is "I would die for " whoever. I realize I oversimplify to call it easy, but I am certain I could give up my life for someone I love deeply, like my wife or children. So that may not truly be the extent of how far... what is farther? Well, I hope I would live for my family. I am willing to sacrifice my own wants to satisfy their needs, but more importantly I want to live a life that improves theirs. I want to live in such a way that the energy I expend decreases the energy they have to in order to find joy, to be cared for, and to feel loved. More importantly, I want to live a Christ-like life that shows my children how they ought to treat other people. I want to do things to improve myself so they will understand the importance of lifelong learning. I want to do the things I should to stay healthy so I can be around for them as long as possible.

I realize I am describing an ideal, and obviously I have not gone that far in my life. I certainly do not go that far every single day. But I want to go that far, and I believe I am willing to. So, like I said, dying for someone seems a lot easier than truly living for someone. The great thing about living for someone, truly putting the needs of others first, is how enriching it can be. When I buy myself a gift, I might enjoy it for a time, but when I give a gift to someone else, the joy I get from the exchange lasts much longer. Anytime I am given a choice, I prefer my birthday gift be something I give to someone else (most often my wife). I am far from a selfless constant do-gooder, but as I get older I want to do more, be better, and care more for others.

My idea of living for others, though, was misguided in the past. I thought that making sure I had a job that paid well mattered a lot more than truly reaching for my dreams, so I have worked hard at a job I enjoy but am not passionate about. I realize now, though, that my wife and children need me to seek out my dreams and do the things necessary to achieve them. It is only in finding my life's work that I can truly do my best for them. So, I am going back to school, doing something that will take a lot of work and time away from my family, and reaching higher. I know in the end that my family will have a better "me" to live with, and I will be living more for them than ever, doing what I will love.

-- Robert


Melissa said...

Interesting thought. Sometimes doing for yourself is actually doing for all. I totally agree with that.

Anonymous said...

Needing you to seek out your dreams.

That's really cool.

Julie Pippert said...

I completely agree that "living for" is going farther, and is one of the greatest challenges. It's hard to step out of the easy and obvious "way to be a good dad/husband/mom/wife role" if it's not the right fit. Good for you. I think you are right.

Robert said...

I had a reply written to Melissa last night when my Internet went down, so I'll write something to all three instead.

Randy Pausch said something I agreed with before he said it: the flight attendant is right - you have to help yourself before you can help someone else. I can't provide for my wife and children if I let myself get sick or I don't make sure I have a job. If I don't eat properly, I won't stay healthy to accomplish those two goals. So it may sound selfish, but I do have to take care of me to take care of my family.

Thanks for the comments, though. I think you all "got" my idea.