There are few words as overused as “passion”. It is often proliferated in career books or self-help books which preach about “chasing your passion!”. The mantra is that you have a single passion or at most a few passions that you need to 1) find out what they are, then 2) chase them with abandon until you are completely fulfilled in your life, lacking nothing. Now I think we can all agree THAT definition is way off base…yet the myth perpetuates.
I think it is because there is some truth to it. After all, we are all born with unique skills and interests and seemingly bent toward certain interests more than others. So it makes logical sense that we would be made to “follow our passion”; however, this is a misguided approach. The reason is that it is predicated on the idea that we have a single passion or maybe just a few, and the prerequisite is that we find that passion. Which gets us chasing the wrong thing. The first goal should be to BE passionate.
Ok Ok I know it sounds a little cliche.
Ok it’s A LOT cliche.
However, I think the world needs more passionate people. The approach should be to get curious about life. The problem with the passion gospel is that it gets you focusing on the search for the passion. I admit that it is a struggle for me to avoid the passion pull, she is an extremely tempting siren. But for the sake of our children we NEED to avoid it. The reason is that she is a selfish lover and will not give you anything in return. You spend your energy searching and searching and never come to any conclusion and consequently you are left being frustrated and feeling like a failure. Instead, we need to focus on enjoying the journey.
This is exemplified in our role as fathers. We cannot teach our children to be a slave to this idea of chasing a passion. It is true that we don’t want them to grow up trapped in a life that society led them into, instead, we want them to follow their interests and we want them to do what they love and be happy. These are givens, but what I am concerned about is the journey. HOW they get there. This is done through modeling the attitude and mentality for them. We need to model for them a life that has meaning and one that meaning is not frantic chasing a goal that is never reached. It is finding joy in what you are learning and who you are helping around you.
The problem with chasing our life passion is that it NEVER leads to satisfaction, once we reach what we thought we wanted we begin to focus on that next thing. That next step. That next mountain. Instead, let’s slow down and model a behavior that is curious about learning, enjoying the journey of life and chasing it with passion. Not obsessing on the goal. I firmly believe that it is your duty to share your passion with others! Especially with your children, it is contagious.
What does “passion” mean to you? Perhaps you’ve spent countless energy chasing a passion or you are searching for your one passion in life. Well, I think that way of thinking is a path of destruction and we need to model another approach to our children. We need to teach them what it means to live with passion, not waste our lives obsessively chasing a single passion. We need to model a passion for the journey, not the destination. This is an imperative if we are going to raise children that are happy, fulfilled and a positive influence to the world around them.