I heard a great sermon by Reverend T.D Jakes not too long ago, and in it he asked the crowd how long they would spend on teaching their baby how to walk until they gave up. Obviously the crowd mutually agreed that they would not stop until the baby learned how to walk, no matter how long it took.
You might not have experience raising a child, but maybe it was your pet Corgi that you trained for weeks to go fetch, or to throw (if your dog can throw sent them to me) and you would not rest until she was competent.
It’s funny how we’ll often give those things outside of ourselves a lot more time, and patients to learn; but when it comes to our own growth, and development we are very fast to settle.
Part of the reasoning for this is the fact that we forget we are still, and will forever be, works in progress.
Unfinished Project: From the moment we are born we are automatically thrown into a rapid learning curve both physical and mental. We must learn all of our basic social skills, and interpersonal communications by the time we reach adolescents.
We are also told that our greatest capacity for learning happens during this time period, a time in which the grey matter in out brains is still abundant.
Where we end up stuck however is after the traditional growth period. After the body looks to have stopped growing, and the grey matter is “no longer” in surplus we begin to think that we’ve reached our max capacity; we feel as if the project is complete.
This could not be further from the truth as we have seen time and time again examples of growth far after our youth. Whether it be that 60-year-old man who went back to school to earn his degree in a subject that he had failed many times in his youth. How about that woman in her late 30’s who accepted a mediocre life working at Disney World for over a decade (no offense if you work there, it’s a dope job); yeah her, she ended up creating these things called waist trainer’s and she’s a billionaire now.
This illustration of growth is not only reserved for superficial development, but becomes even more prevalent when it comes to our personal growth.
Mean Man Martin’s Story: I remember hearing about this mean old man who used to live a few houses down from our then new residency. All the kid’s on my block knew of him, but never once had a positive interaction with him. They spoke of him being the saltiest grumpy man on the planet, and said he was a racist, youth people hating monster. So being the nosey person I am I had to witness this for myself. One Sunday afternoon I saw him outside his house detailing his car, so I decided approached him; at first he seemed to be afraid of me (random black teenager approaching) so he quickly turned his attention the other direction. I walked a little closer and introduced myself. He pretended to not hear me so I did it once more, soon after I began to compliment him on his car. He scowled at me then continued his work. By that point i could tell that he wanted to be left alone so I walked off with a smile on my face, and hurt in my heart. A few day’s went by and I saw Martin back out with his car, so I did the exact same thing as before; I walked up to him, and complimented his car. He looked to be annoyed by my persistence, but finally he answered with a dry, “thanks”. I began asking him about the car, and he inquired If I actually cared…to be honest I didn’t care much about car’s but if it would break the ice then why not go with it. By the end of the next week me and Martin would talk about cars all the time, and he would even give me dozens of car magazines to take home. During one of our conversations he said, ” you know for decades I thought there wasn’t a single good kid left, I couldn’t stand your entire generation. But I don’t know, I guess I might have been wrong”. From that day on he would wave at some of the other kid’s in our neighborhood which made them suspicious, but overtime lead them to see him in a different light.
I see Martin as a perfect example of a man who looked like a finished project but then discovered he was “under-construction”. He had come to a point where he made his mind up about the type of person he would be until the day he died. All it took to begin his renovations was an example that contradicted the mentality he held onto for decades.
This relates to the old saying, ” you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” which is a statement I fully disagree with. Regardless of how old you are, you have the capacity to develop.
New Bricks: Think of a home that is under construction. There are five rooms in the entire house, yet the people constructing it only put their focuses on three of the rooms. Those three rooms become the most beautiful rooms in the house; yet the other two remain bland, and vacant. Every time the contractor walks into the subpart rooms he simply accepts them as finished, since they have already been “built”.
Long story short nobody buys the house, and it ends up becoming another abandoned building; then again who would want to live in a home that has been built with a subpart effort?…..So then why do we accept living under subpart internal conditions?
Often times we feel as if we have maxed out in certain areas of our lives whether it be the effort we put into our creation/work, the capacity we have to seek understanding from those we love, our self-discipline, or anything else that may come to mind. The fact of the matter is that we forever have the ability to expand, grow, learn, and develop; yet we act as if we were done with that when we threw our last graduation cap into the air.
Whether it be an issue of anger that you are dealing with, a lack of self-control, the burden’s of mediocrity, a lack of knowledge or anything else that stands out as a personal “flaw”; know that these are all aspects of ourselves we can control, and must never stop working on.
We can choose to revisit these “rooms” at any point in our lives, and renovate them to the point in which they may even becomes strong points in our character. Though it may take time to fully develop these character traits, know that what you get in return will be an unshakable sense of self-worth.
There are new bricks all around us, and to add them to our personal “structures” will only help us become more steady, better developed, and reach heights that we never thought possible.