Building a Future Worthy of Our Lives

Last month we wrapped up another successful Middle School Summer Shop Camp!

Over the course of the camp it was so exciting to see what our upper level campers decide to build and see the progress that they made. We had everything from L-shaped desks to cattle panels; full blown rustic cedar kitchen table sets to restoring a mini motorcycle!

What brought me great joy was watching our Level 1 Campers in 5th and 6th Grade stare at amazement each morning during their morning session at the progress having been made by the advanced campers from the past afternoon. Several have been inspired by the craftsmanship of their older peers and are seeking to build on what they’ve seen and tackle even more challenging projects next summer.

Building a project that creates sparks of inspiration in others takes time, intentionality, and persistence. Building a future worthy of our lives requires as much if not more.

Over the course of the year I emphasized this to my seniors about making our lives count. If each of our lives matter, if they are to count; then we must begin building a firm foundation that will uphold our lives well into the future. Building that foundation requires some basic tools and I used a hammer to drive home the point.

A hammer shockingly is much more complex than one would expect. It has numerous parts that help make it function. We’ll explore three parts and discover what they can teach us about building our own futures:

  • The Face: 

The face of the hammer is where the action of the tool lies, it is where the magic happens, strike after strike. Just as it takes more than one stroke of the hammer to build a project worth building, it is a collection of daily actions that build the future for our lives. These daily choices accumulate, as Seth Godin says, “Drip after drip.”

As with a hammer, not every choice will hit its intended mark. We will make mistakes, but we have choices in how to respond to mistakes and failure…

  • The Claw:

I’m left laughing thinking of what kind of credibility loss the craftsman took who invented the first hammer with a claw. Can’t you hear the skeptics…”Look at that craftsman with the claw behind his hammer, it’s like he is asking for failure, he must not be very good since he is admitting his flawed state so openly!”

We can take the claw of the hammer to represent two very different narratives. As seen above, one narrative sees the claw as a public admission of imperfection and inadequacy by the world’s standards. The claw can make us uncomfortable at times, we like to hide the flaws and imperfections of our lives not openly admit we’ve got some work to do!

Then there is the alternative narrative, and it is not the issue of perfection or imperfection, it concerns our willingness to do something about the areas of our growth!

If the strikes of the hammer are missing the mark and we are bending the nails and denting our wood; we’d stop to fix the issue and not continue as if nothing is wrong. The claw represents for us the choice to correct, grow, and have a belief in the value of our own lives. If we value the worth of our lives, then we each must engage in the tough work of pulling out misplaced or bent nails found littered in our lives…

  • The Handle:

Finally and arguably, the most important part of the hammer is the handle. Imagine trying to drive a nail with only the head or face of the hammer, it would be a sad, ridiculous, and possibly bloody affair! The handle is the source of leverage and support for the tool to actually function.

Our handle is comprised of all those around us who offer support, love, and necessary truths! In turn we also serve as a handle in others’ lives as well! It is through the conduit of each other that we grow and make progress in developing ourselves into the person we are becoming! How beautiful it is to think that we do not forge this journey in life alone.

As I have gotten older, I have increasingly begun to cherish the close relationships I have sustained since high school and college. We support each other and together are building a future worthy of our shared lives.

Lives do not build themselves; it requires our sustained daily efforts!

How will we build up our lives today?

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