Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be writing a series of posts in which I’ll try to capture the themes and spirit of the many, many great and inspiring ideas folks shared with me in response to the GTY challenge. Some wrote a few lines, others a few pages. All of the input was thought-provoking, and all of the inputers were very generous with their time and attention. I’ll try to write some kind of a mashup of all the responses.
In the meantime, let me share a couple of paragraphs from an email written to me by Tariq Khan, of the Kitchen Table blog (in which he mostly writes about his faith). It was a little eerie how closely his thinking tracked with my own, but there were a couple of paragraphs in particular that really hit me. Tariq said it this way:
“Though people have the same value, we are not all equal. Those that say we cannot make someone greater than ourselves because we are all the same are infected with the blindness of group-think. People differ in impact, character, disposition, the list goes on. Most would agree, if they look carefully, that they classify people as greater or less on many scales. Yet, worth does not change [my italics]. Thus, it is not incorrect to attempt to cause someone to be greater than me by serving that individual.
The same is also true of groups…families, organizations and societies in turn can also serve to make (others) greater than themselves.”
He goes on to say:
“Many of us already try to make others greater, but do it selectively, especially with our children. (We should do this most with our spouses, the most important people in our lives, but most choose not to do so.) We try to give them all the ingredients, including whatever we can give of our lives, they need to feel loved and to succeed. Some people just may not see that they are already involved in your concept and as such already firmly believe that you are correct [my italics again].”
I agree with Tariq: the idea of making others greater is what parenting is all about. The same can be said of great music teachers, soccer coaches, and the list goes on and on.
What concerns me, though, is that the list comes to a grinding halt as soon as we go to work. Trying to grind out a living by grinding others down is simply not the way to greatness. For anyone.
Seems to me that too many of us just leave our GTY instincts at home.