There’s a parable about a woman who walks by three men working on a building site, each doing the same thing.
The woman asks the first man what he’s doing. “I’m hauling bricks,” he says.
She asks the second man what he’s doing. “I’m building a wall,” he states.
She asks the third man what he’s doing. “I’m building a cathedral,” he answers.
The men are all doing the same action, but their answers show how different they are framing their purpose.
Purpose, according to author Daniel H. Pink in his book, “Drive,” is one of the three essential elements to feeling motivated and happy in our work roles. That motivation and happiness tend to be the fuel we use to sustain our long-term efforts and drive ourselves forward. Although many parents have careers or jobs separate from parenting, most of the parents we know consider raising children an important job.
In every job, there are tasks that can feel menial, tedious, or grueling (getting the kids out the door to school every morning, dinner on the table every night, and to and from activities each week are good examples).
Sometimes it feels hard to make a direct connection between everything we do to specific, positive impacts on our children or families, or to a specific, visible change.
Like building a cathedral, the work of parenting takes dedication to values, ideals, and a vision of what we want to create. Our “cathedral” is a home life where our children have what they need to thrive; to grow into productive, happy adults.
As we observe the beginning of spring – a season of new beginnings, it’s a good time to renew our commitment to build our cathedrals. It can be challenging! It can be daunting and tiring. There’s so much to care about, to address, to change, to advocate for, and our voluminous to do lists can feel like a massive pile of heavy bricks to haul.
But remember, we’re building a cathedral. One purposeful brick at a time. Cathedrals take a while to build. They take planning. They take vision. And most of all, they take the continuous doing of unglamorous, grueling tasks. As parents, we each have a critical part in creating something monumental.
Editor’s Note: look for the Strong Families, Happy Kids column in every issue of Prescott Woman Magazine. It’s designed to support parents with actionable tips and strategies they can use to create optimal environments for their children to thrive. To learn more about Prevent Child Abuse Arizona’s mission and resources visit www.pcaaz.org