Purpose Beyond Oneself

Over the last week, I found an unexpected parallel. I read Becoming by Michelle Obama and I watched Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – the documentary about the life of Fred Rogers. You may not think they have much in common. And yet, I drew many parallels between Barack Obama and Fred Rogers.

When I read Michelle Obama’s words about her husband, she speaks of a man with vision, a man who thinks beyond himself simply as a course of being. She describes the first time she witnessed this quality in Barack. He challenged a room full of people by saying “Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?” His words are not simply words: they are indicative of his daily actions and interactions. His call to action is one he responds to each and every day.

When watching Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, I saw the same quality in Fred Rogers. He was a man who chose to do something not for his own advancement, monetarily or otherwise, but because he, too, had vision. He, too, wanted to do something beyond himself: in his case, with children.

As we begin this new year, I find myself asking:

  • What is my purpose beyond myself?
  • Do I go about my days for a pay cheque or because I am called to make a difference in the lives of educators and children?
  • Do I work for my own good or to make this world a better place?
  • Do I believe in my own potential to make a difference?

This year I will strive to respond to Barack Obama’s call to action. I will not settle for the world as it is; I will strive to work for the world as it should be.

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