I grew up in a family filled with construction, trades and business. Without realizing it, and despite the fact that I never followed in the footsteps so to speak, I did learn something special; the nobility of the trade and craft.
Have a read of this. As a college educator, it speaks to me in myriad ways.
I remember my father once saying, amidst the boom around what was then called IT… “they have to put those computers in buildings”. His point at the time was that construction and trades and the craft will never go out of style. These days, with the cost of university in question and purposeful organizations like Skills Canada doing their fine work, we are seeing increasing attention given to trades as a calling; a vocation.
My one concern is that it should not be because other opportunities are scarce. You do not choose a calling. It chooses you. Yes, money and opportunity are important. Still, I firmly believe that money and opportunity follow excellence… and excellence follows passion, purpose and practice. That results from heeding a calling. Richard Bolles in his book What Color Is Your Parachute? spoke to finding such calling “in your members”… that which you find yourself losing yourself in… where your mind and body are consumed in the most healthy of ways. There, you find it.
Our education system, at its earliest stages, must center on helping youth find what calls them. It should not be biased towards a university or college or any other education. Children who love building or fixing or creating or solving… or whatever… must needs be encouraged in what is in their “members”. Consider the anxiety, depression and isolation that results from people working at what they do not naturally engage or love… that which burns inside. Consider the apathy and estrangement that arises from disconnect with work.
Now, consider the robust engagement when youth and adults do what they truly love and excel at… in a away that builds both a living and a life.
That is progress.
In our work around character, a central part of our focus is around being who you are… from the standpoint of character and virtue. Each of the professions, trades, crafts and all other work inherently call to specific strengths of character. Discover what your core strengths are and you will start to find that which is calling to you. If you already know, consider what virtues are aligned with that work… and you will see confirmation. In other words, considering your core strengths of character will either provide an invitation or a confirmation. So, here… try this. Consider these strengths, and identify what are at your core. What 5-10 drive you, like oxygen? You crave them and live them, throughout life.
Then, research what work calls upon them. What trades, crafts, professions and more require them, like oxygen? Or, if you already know what calls you… align that with your core virtues as yet another confirmation. That being said, character is our core. It is how we define our spirit. It is the metal that our vocation, as magnet, attracts.
Find and/or confirm your calling. That work, delivered with excellence born of authenticity, is needed somewhere, by someone.
Peace, passion and prosperity.
Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™