Last night, I had a wonderful conversation with a young man I haven't seen in a while. He is about to start taking piano lessons from my wife. In his eyes, I saw something I hadn't seen in him for a while: hope. A vision of the future, perhaps. Whatever it was, it clearly had changed his coutenance, and I was glad of it. He has always been a "good" kid, so it was hard to see him going through a rough time, but now he seems to have decided to do some things for himself instead of for "the crowd". Instead of playing every sport available, he wants to focus on becoming a musician and acting with the drama department at school. He even has a plan for where he wants to go to college and what he wants to do when he gets there. I was glad to hear it. I told him that a sailboat on the water without a plan will go whichever way the wind blows, but if its captain has a plan he knows which way to trim the sails. So many people wander aimlessly through life, letting forces outside of themselves dictate their paths. Clearly this young man still has a lot of years ahead of him before he can accomplish the plan he has set in place, but I hope, and more importantly believe, he can. Focus of purpose is powerful, and desire is even better.
How did I conclude he was serious about his plan? As we were about to part, my wife's friend mentioned a book in our presence, How Full Is Your Bucket, and I told him a little bit about it. Then I told him about another book written by the same author, Strengthsfinder 2.0, and then another one for youth called Strengths Explorer. He said, "I would love to read that book, and with summer coming up, I've got plenty of time to do it." Someone who really wants to accomplish a goal tends to look for resources to do so. When I suggested he might find some insights into his plan by reading those books, he jumped at the chance. That's how I knew he was serious, and that's why I feel confident he can achieve his goals.
He also invigorated me because that conversation is just the sort I hope to be having with future students when I become a professor. I know that is my calling in life, to inspire others to greater heights. I am excited for that future.
P.S. Yes, I realize this is the longest period I've had without a post on this blog. I've had a lot going on at work and in life as we prepare for our move. We've got less than two months before we leave, and I've got a lot to accomplish in that time.