My Grandfather played a remarkable role in my development in many ways, but with one small purchase, he planted seeds that continue to influence my life today. He bought me a subscription to National Geographic.
Most people would immediately assume that this was part of educating me to become a citizen of the world, and of course that is also true. However at the time this occurred, the world was very different. TV, a rotary phone, and radio were the world’s instant communication. What he succeeded in doing was creating great curiosity about other places and peoples – a true wonder at the diversity of the human experience. Add to that parents who taught me that people who were different from me were those to be interested in and from whom much could be learned. Did I have the understanding to articulate what they were instilling in me then? Of course not, but as I reflect on the shaping factors of life and leadership, the gifts that they have imparted are worth millions.
It led to a life of education, world travel, and opportunities that a small town girl could only dream of and assume would happen to others. Along the way, there were pressures attached as others’ views of what success looked like tried to impose their expectations on my life. Pressures of where to live, what kind of car to drive, how big and what neighborhood a home should be in, people with whom one should associate, taking up golf, events one should attend, and all the wonderful toys and visible signs of success that should be accumulated.
The older I have gotten, the lighter I want my physical life to be. With our latest move as we divested of stuff and down-sized for another phase of life, I felt physically lighter, and space opened up in life for what is important. Collecting and caring for stuff is a burden and makes you dependent in ways that reduce your freedom and spontaneity.
My yearning to go and to be with the peoples of creation, to stand in the footprints of the ancients, and to experience the world was born of seeds planted by a wise and dear man. He knew that collecting experiences would be at the core of living a life that would transform and be truly alive instead of collecting stuff that deadens the journey.
© Copyright. All Rights Reserved.