Hello Rebel, and welcome back to my life.
I feel like we want what our parents wanted.
That’s too general to apply to everybody in all places and times, but something just happened to me that made me think back on what I’ve seen as culturally important throughout my life.
My daughter just had her seventh birthday, and a relative sent her some money as a present.
And my daughter opened the card and pulled out the money and said, “Whoah. They DEFINITELY know what to get ME for a present.”
This is a little bit of an odd thing to hear from a seven-year-old, but it’s not the first time she’s said something like that. She’ll often talk about wanting money or wanting to earn money.
She thinks that I write books to make money so we can go on vacations. To her, that’s the purpose of my job.
And when we were still living in Los Angeles, she offered to give my wife and I all of the money she had—which was about twenty dollars—so that we could move to Oregon faster.
So while I wouldn’t say that money is, like, her primary motivation as a person, clearly it’s pretty high on her list of priorities.
While I wish I could say this wasn’t the case, I know that money is important to her because it’s something Meghan and I have struggled with, especially in past years.
No matter how much we try to keep that out of the awareness of her and her brothers, my kids are very observant. They know what’s going on.
So that’s what got me thinking about what I grew up thinking was important. And I realized that fulfilling a purpose in life was my highest priority from a very, very young age, and was always much more important than making money.
And I don’t know if this is the whole reason, but I know that part of the reason that’s the case is that my parents had a TON of money while I was growing up. Like, a lot.
But I knew, because they told me, and because of indirect observation, that their individual purposes, their “callings,” if you will, weren’t the things that were making them money.
Both of my parents were very successful business owners. They were partners, in fact. But my dad always wanted to write and paint, and my mom loved music and our church.
It’s just that those things had never brought in the bills, and I think THEY were brought up in a time when it was expected that THEY were supposed to get steady jobs and bring in a regular paycheck.
Now, I don’t know if the cycle is that simple: generations alternating between trying to be financially secure or trying to fulfill a higher purpose. Maybe there are other phases I haven’t been able to observe directly.
And I think other urges like this are cyclical in our society. For example, I know that it used to be considered not only normal, but almost expected, for kids to go to college.
But for various reasons, that’s no longer such a high priority as it was. Honestly, unless my kids want to be doctors or lawyers, I don’t care at all whether they go to college or not, and a lot of other millennials feel the same way.
No doubt that has something to do with the insane student loans in this country, but that’s a whole nother can of worms.
But if this is true, if we grow up to some degree wanting and working for the things that our parents perceived to be valuable, what do we do about it? Do we need to do anything about it at all?
Is there any way to figure out what we actually want, free from any outside influence, or is that even a thing?
If you know the answer, please let me know, because … I honestly have no idea. And I’m having a minor existential crisis just wondering about it.
Right now, the best answer I’ve got is the only thing I know. And that is that I feel happiness and fulfillment when I’m helping people who American culture has historically harmed, when I’m doing the greatest good I can for the greatest number of people, and when I’m making sure my family is cared for while I’m doing that.
I think that at this point in my life, that works for me, and I’m going to keep doing it.
And maybe it’s impossible to know whether what we want is just handed down to us or if it really comes from who we are as a person. Maybe you need to look back through the much clearer lens of history to know for sure.
But I know that the times in history I admire most were when people did great things, and I don’t know how many people respect the people who spent their lives getting rich.
And I think that’s the standard I’m going to go with. Not just worrying about what I’m doing right now, but thinking about how I’m going to view it five, ten, or fifty years from now.
That’s it for today, Rebel. Give this video a like, if you don’t mind, and maybe consider sharing it with someone you think might enjoy it.
Thank you so much for watching, and I will see you on Friday. Byyye!