The Process of Life
From Music and the Spoken WordDelivered By: Lloyd D. Newell
When a young family moved into their first home, they decided to build a playhouse for the kids in the backyard. The parents and children threw their hearts into the project, carefully selecting the wood, the shingles, and all the supplies. Great pride and satisfaction swelled in their hearts as it took shape. When friends came to play, the children would proudly show them how the playhouse was coming along. And the first thing they said to Dad when he came home from work was, “When can we work on our playhouse?”
But when the playhouse was finished, the parents noticed that the children rarely played in it. They discovered “that having the house wasn’t really what motivated them. It was the building of it, and how they felt about their own contribution, that they found satisfying."1 Turns out it was the process that was important, not the finished product.
You’ve probably experienced this yourself. It’s a common phenomenon: A championship team rejoices when they raise the trophy, but they also cherish the smaller victories and defeats throughout the season. Parents feel proud on their son’s wedding day, but the memories that persist are of the smaller, simpler moments of his childhood. A college graduate is grateful for the diploma she receives, but what she’ll long remember are the long nights studying for finals, the professors who inspired her, and the excitement she felt every time she learned something new. It seems that getting there is indeed half the fun—and almost all of the memories.
So instead of waiting only for something to end, try to enjoy the moments along the way. Though there may be difficulties and wearisome effort, don’t be so eager for the destination that you miss the simple joys of the journey. Remember what the family learned from their playhouse—real growth and bonding and learning come in all of life’s ages and stages, not just at the end.
1 See Clayton Christensen and others, How Will You Measure Your Life? (2012), 37–38.