“Happy Talk” from the musical, South Pacific, says “You gotta have a dream. If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?”
My husband Dan and I are truly blessed because we are living the dream in Aitutaki.
Teens need to start dreaming – of the song they are called to sing in the great symphony of life. How will they earn a living and use their God-given talents to make a difference?
The recent Career Expo in Rarotonga lit a fire of enthusiasm in students, particularly those who had a hands-on experience with workplace mentors.
I remember snorkelling in the Solomon Islands inside an abandoned ship from World War II. The rusty old hull had become a reef of colourful coral and beautiful fish swam around it. In the middle of the sunken ship was a ladder sticking up.
When I spoke on virtues and success later that week to community leaders, I told them, “I saw a ladder to nowhere.
“That’s how your kids feel in these islands. “Too many youth are wandering the streets with nowhere to go, and nothing to do.” We learned about one caring man who decided to do something about it and formed a pan pipe band. He took the kids off the street, fed them and taught them.
The young pipers took great pride in their performances for tourists and local events, and they even got to travel overseas.
What a haunting and beautiful sound they made as they sang and pounded those big pipes. Here in the Cook Islands, there are careers open in government, service organizations, business, tourism and hospitality, which youth who want to continue living here can enter. A teacher I was speaking to recently said that she asked her Grade 11 students, “In just one year you will be graduating from this college. What are your goals? What do you want to do with your life.” Most just shrugged, not having given it any thought. The saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
In the classic book Alice in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat says to Alice, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” What virtues do we need at any age, in order to have a happy, meaningful, and sustainable life? How can we make a difference in the world in our own way? How can we earn a good living to support our families?
1. Tap into your Idealism, and build your dream. Explore what you are good at. Respect your God given talents. Think about your purpose, a direction in life that will give you joy while helping others. Sufi Poet Jalal’u’din Rumi says, “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
2. Be purposeful. Make a plan. Don’t be content to have a vague wish. Set your goals, and then use Orderliness to break it down into steps.
3. Use your Determination to act. Keep going until you meet each goal. Use one of the fruits of the spirit named in Galations 5:22 – self-discipline. Once you know what you want to do, don’t give up until you are doing it!
4. Have the Humility to ask for help. Consult the wisdom of your family, friends or a person you trust. Two heads are almost always better than one. It is a great blessing if you can find a mentor to teach you what you need to learn.
Quaker theologian Frederick Buechner says, “Our calling is where our deepest gladness and the world’s hunger meet.” What the world needs is people who give total excellence, enthusiasm and kindness to their work and genuinely care about helping others. Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore said, “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” Everyone has a calling – some kind of work, a way to serve that gladdens your heart. Once you find your dream, God willing, it will come true.