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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ultimate Ambitions

What did your parents want you to be when you grew up?  What about you?  What are some secret expectations you have for your children? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, p.1370)

My parents never suggested a line of work for me.  They made it clear that “what” I did as an adult was much less important than “how” and “why” I did it.  On these latter aspects, they were very clear.  I was to be “sweet” in spirit.  “Sweet” from their point of view did not mean weak, ineffectual, or effeminate.  A sweet spirit to them meant a spirit that was lacking in chronic anger, resentment, or self-centeredness.  That is, my vocation first and foremost was dependent upon the quality of my relationships with others.  The rank, station, or preeminence (or lack thereof) I would one day achieve was unimportant to them.  The content of my character and my loving, sympathetic relationship with others were always the paramount considerations.  Now that I have children of my own, I cannot think of a greater legacy.  Social prominence or the lack thereof pales in importance to their being kind and considerate in their relationships.  I suppose the ultimate test would be “What if they ran into a ‘Hitler’?  How then would I want them to be kind and considerate?  While being intolerant of the evil-doers actions, I would want them to respond with sadness and wonder at the forces resulting in such stark grotesqueness.  Even then I would want them to approach the flagrant manifestation of evil without a trace of self-righteousness and with prayers for even the most arrogant and cruel to find redemption.   

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