Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Life of Privilege

I did not grow up with wealth. Dad was a farmer. We always had enough to get by, even if things sometimes got a bit tight. Yet growing up, I lived a life of privilege.

My first job was far from lucrative, but it was a job, and my first job enabled me to live a life of privilege.

I received no scholarships of stipends but got my degree by the sweat of my own and my wife's brow. Even in the darkest of student poverty, we lived lives of privilege.

I went into the Army in time of war. I became a field artilleryman and a helicopter pilot.  I served in combat with great and courageous men. To this day, I count it all a privilege.

Out of the Army, I was blessed with a job that fit my talents. After more than 30 years, I count working a privilege.

Together, my wife and I have raised four children into reasonably responsible adults. It was a privilege to see them develop their own interests and personalities.  Each one is different. All are special.

When I was a youth, it was a burden to work in the fields, barns, and gardens. The work was strenuous, hot, dusty, dirty, and often boring.  Today, I count the ability to do such work a great privilege and even volunteer to do it.

The difference lies not only in growing older, but in changing the words used to describe an event.  No longer do I think "Oh, NO! I have to go to work." Instead I think "Oh, WOW! I get to go to work!" or at least I try to.

By changing the words I use to think and speak of the same activity, I change my attitude toward that activity.  Work is transformed from a dreaded compulsion -- something I have to do -- to a privilege -- something in which I can take pleasure and really want to do. One change only, but it's all that's needed to transform a life of drudgery to a life of privilege.

So, what's on your agenda for today?

Will you approach it with the "Oh, NO!" of drudgery or the "Oh, WOW!" of privilege?

The choice is yours.