I noticed this quote on a billboard outside of a church building. It really struck a chord with me.
“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family” – Mother Teresa
For the longest time, I’ve been wrestling with my purpose and meaning in life. I’ve been on a leave of absence from my teaching career for the last 2 years and I’ve been staying at home looking after my children in the meantime. I often wonder what the heck I’m supposed to be doing.
I seem to be discontented and unsettled a lot of the time. I feel a constant longing to do something else…something bigger. There’s a large drive in me to contribute and change the world yet I seem to miss the opportunity that is before me. Somehow I believe that taking care of children is not as important or significant (perhaps this is the message our society conveys). I seem perpetually distracted by things that don’t really matter and fail to notice my children as a result. I know I value family but I can’t seem to let go of the nagging in order to focus on what really matters. The by-product is often guilt and torment.
However, I’m beginning to feel a shift. I’m realizing that it’s foolish to help hurting people while simultaneously creating a few more hurting people to add to the mix. In my endeavour to focus on everyone but my family, I will surely end up neglecting the people that are the most important to me. In the end, I’m not really helping the world, I’m just adding to the pain. It doesn’t matter how many lives I influence. If the 3 people at home don’t feel loved by me, then all my efforts are futile.
Since I’ve already been rumbling around with the tension for a while, you can imagine why this quote stood out to me. Upon reading it, I felt a sense of relief and resolve. I felt permission to allow myself to take care of the seemingly unimportant things instead of striving for something greater. I was reminded that these “seemingly unimportant things” are actually massively important things. They aren’t ordinary or mundane at all. There is so much power and influence in shaping the next generation that will influence the world long after I’m gone. Besides, this is a season of time that is very demanding. Before I know it, my children will be out of the house and my purpose will change accordingly.
Ironically, I’m reminded of the reason why I became a teacher in the first place. I wanted to lead the next generation of politicians, doctors, teachers, parents, etc. Well, it may only be 2 young children instead of a classroom, but they still count. It only takes one person to make a difference.
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