Success. Really, what is it?
Some demonize the word, telling us that we’re missing the point when you think of success to much. The point being: live life to the fullest and let success fade from your vocabulary. Letting the thoughts and imaginations of success fade will open you up to more fully live in the present moment, they say.
That idea is usually said in light of success being some kind of notoriety and acclaim and the pursuit of such. It’s even related to the precious moment the life of wanting a relationship – that when you finally quit wanting it, well, there it happens.
Now, these things said, I think there’s another frontier to be explored when we think about (or maybe don’t think about) success. I think it needs a redefinition – by re-, I mean looking back to what the word is supposed to mean. To do this, I want to share something I recently read that expressed a new but old take on success.
Paraphrasing: Success, in social activist and author John Perkins, says, is all about succession. It’s all about passing something down to others or to the next generation. For Mr. Perkins, that something being passed was a vision for the Kingdom of God unfolding in front of their eyes and visioning how to participate in those spiritual rhythms.
For us, especially us fathers, on Halmark’s dedication to us? I think it’s a good time for all of us to re-examine and constantly examine Success. Is success to us all about getting big, looking for our break, or finally arriving (all of which might just have a little time and place, I’m not sure)? Is success for our children all about them doing the same: landing a high paying job, getting a college degree from a big school, or expressing themselves in ways that will bring notoriety to themselves and the family?
If those are our preoccupations, then we’re not talking about success, we’re talking about illusion: how we want to see ourselves and be seen by others. (Sure, integrity is important, but why and what kind?) Success is this: What about our lives are we passing down to our children (and this will take a lot of time, energy and perseverance)? What about our religious convictions and spiritual rhythms are we guiding our children to explore? How are they learning to see and walk in the Kingdom of God? How are we being led by God’s Spirit to guide our children toward Jesus Way life and create real success via succession?
A reading of Deuteronomy 4 might be an appropriate thought closer.