Redefining 'success'

R. Clayton Strang
I used to think that being a success meant wanting for nothing.  Successful people drove the nicest cars.  They lived in the biggest houses.  They had the best of everything.  They owned their own businesses, worked a few hours a day, and never had to worry about anything.  Everything that they touched turned to gold.  Your life was measured by the size of your bank account.  Success was all of this and more, and I wanted it.  I wanted to be successful. 

To be sure, none of these things are bad.  If the opportunity were to arise, who in their right mind would turn any of these things down?  In and of themselves, these are good things.  The question is this: Are these things alone what make a person a success?

We've reached a point as a nation where success measured by this standard seems less and less likely.  Our economy stands on the edge of a precipice, with disaster and ruin a hair's breadth away.  It sometimes seems as though some of our elected officials are intentionally pushing us off of that cliff.  The President of our Great Republic ignores the lessons of history, engaging in class warfare, demonizing those who achieve material success.  He engages in an economic policy that has been the downfall of many other nations.  The President and the leaders in both Houses of Congress are far worse than fiscally irresponsible, they are fiscally reckless.   They are either unaware of or unbothered by the state of our economy.  Some seem to delight in the thought of an America in ruins.  With all this being true, how do we continue?  How can anyone expect to succeed?   We must first amend our idea of success.

I work a full time job, not to buy fancy cars or a big house, but to provide for my family.  I make enough money to pay the rent and the bills.  We don't have the biggest or best television, but my children have never gone hungry.  We don't take vacations, but my family has always had clothes to wear.  Sometimes we have trouble making ends meet and we need help.  We consider ourselves blessed to have a church family that has stepped in to help us when we're in need.  My children are learning about working hard and being fiscally responsible.  They're learning the importance of family.  They're learning that it's not our possessions that define us, but our character.  They're learning that faith can sometimes mean the difference between standing on the edge of that precipice and falling off of it.

In the end, if my wife and I have taught our children these lessons I will have been successful.  We will have set them up to survive, even in tough times.  They will be equipped to live a life of meaning.  If we as a people will embrace this vision of success, we will have hope for the future.  Our children will grow up to live these values.  They will be able to set right the mistakes that their parent and grandparents have made.  If we are successful, we will have saved our Republic. 

I used to think that being a success meant wanting for nothing.  Successful people drove the nicest cars.  They lived in the biggest houses.  They had the best of everything.  They owned their own businesses, worked a few hours a day, and never had to worry about anything.  Everything that they touched turned to gold.  Your life was measured by the size of your bank account.  Success was all of this and more, and I wanted it.  I wanted to be successful. 

To be sure, none of these things are bad.  If the opportunity were to arise, who in their right mind would turn any of these things down?  In and of themselves, these are good things.  The question is this: Are these things alone what make a person a success?

We've reached a point as a nation where success measured by this standard seems less and less likely.  Our economy stands on the edge of a precipice, with disaster and ruin a hair's breadth away.  It sometimes seems as though some of our elected officials are intentionally pushing us off of that cliff.  The President of our Great Republic ignores the lessons of history, engaging in class warfare, demonizing those who achieve material success.  He engages in an economic policy that has been the downfall of many other nations.  The President and the leaders in both Houses of Congress are far worse than fiscally irresponsible, they are fiscally reckless.   They are either unaware of or unbothered by the state of our economy.  Some seem to delight in the thought of an America in ruins.  With all this being true, how do we continue?  How can anyone expect to succeed?   We must first amend our idea of success.

I work a full time job, not to buy fancy cars or a big house, but to provide for my family.  I make enough money to pay the rent and the bills.  We don't have the biggest or best television, but my children have never gone hungry.  We don't take vacations, but my family has always had clothes to wear.  Sometimes we have trouble making ends meet and we need help.  We consider ourselves blessed to have a church family that has stepped in to help us when we're in need.  My children are learning about working hard and being fiscally responsible.  They're learning the importance of family.  They're learning that it's not our possessions that define us, but our character.  They're learning that faith can sometimes mean the difference between standing on the edge of that precipice and falling off of it.

In the end, if my wife and I have taught our children these lessons I will have been successful.  We will have set them up to survive, even in tough times.  They will be equipped to live a life of meaning.  If we as a people will embrace this vision of success, we will have hope for the future.  Our children will grow up to live these values.  They will be able to set right the mistakes that their parent and grandparents have made.  If we are successful, we will have saved our Republic.