What is My Calling? – August 4, 2006

Once again I’m going to show the world through my blog how manly I truly am.

Monday and Tuesday Lis and I watched an Oprah (told you I was manly) Special Report about how our schools are in trouble. The show was a rerun from early in the year but not being an avid Oprah viewer I didn’t watch it the first go-around. Anyway, Oprah spoke with Bill and Melinda Gates, who have the cleverly named Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and who are trying to change students view of school and believe that school systems are not built for today but for when my grandparents went to school.

It was fascinating to hear about the number of students who dropout a year and that we, as Americans, had gone from being the Number 1 country in the world to the mid-20s.

Tuesday’s episode was even cooler as Kevin Johnson, not me but the ex-Phoenix Suns guard and my ex-favorite basketball player, was on Oprah and speaking of his “true calling”. KJ retired in 2000 to focus on education. He has launched a new campaign called Stand Up. He runs a group of schools called the St. Hope Public System and says, “If a parent does not want their son or daughter to go to college and if they’re not willing to do whatever it is to help their son or daughter get there, this is not the school for you. This is not the choice that you should make.”

I was pleased to see that my favorite basketball player of all-time was doing something even bigger and better then dunking on Hakeem Olajuwon in the playoffs (I’ll never forget that dunk!).

It also made me reevaluate myself.

I’ve been reading a book that was given to me by a friend of mine. It’s about finding God’s dream for you. While reading through the book two things continue to pop up. Writing and teaching. I love writing and have gotten positive feedback about my writing (though I don’t think I’m that great), especially while writing this blog. I’ve also been told numerous times that I would make a good teacher because I work well with kids.

I continue to struggle when I think about my “career”. It’s the only thing in my life that I haven’t found pure happiness in and am not totally satisfied with. I love my wife and realize I made the perfect choice. We have a wonderful son and every day I thank God for blessing us with him. I have a solid family that I love and I married into a special family that I love being around. So I’ve taken care of that part of my life. I’m pretty good in that category until the end of time. But then it comes to my job.

Unfortunately, a person’s job is a huge deal in their life. For some people it’s the biggest and most important thing in their life. I’m sorry, and maybe this is why I haven’t found my “career”, but my job does and always will come way behind my family (that includes my in-laws).

Nonetheless, you spend most of your day at your job and need a job to survive. So I’m stuck time and time again thinking about what I want to do and what is God calling me to do. Do I want to be an insurance guy forever? I enjoy the customers and the hours but that’s where it stops. I don’t really enjoy the business aspect of it. Sure, I hear it can be lucrative (and hear is all I do) but will that make me happy in the end? I don’t think so. We’ve learned to live and be happy on a tight budget that I don’t think a ton of money will change my happiness, just make us a little more relaxed and able to save for the future.

So I think about journalism. Do I want to go into journalism? I enjoy writing, I enjoy going to the sporting events and enjoy the fact that people usually find it fascinating that I write for a newspaper. The pay sucks but even teaching won’t be that rewarding in that aspect. The hours are usually horrible which takes a toll on me because one of the things I strive to be is a good father and I want to be there for my son at all times. I want to make every single T-ball, Little League, and/or High School game he is in, or any other afterschool activity. I would also need to return to school to get a degree in English or journalism.

If I choose the teaching career then I again have to return to school to get an education degree. And even though the pay bites, the hours are decent, you usually get summers off and most importantly you get the opportunity to make a difference in a kid’s life. The true reward of teaching, right? And that’s something I’ve told myself I want to do. Ever since Lis got sick I thought about being a better person and making a difference in someone’s life. Why not do it by teaching? So you can see where the Oprah show kind of hit home for me. I wouldn’t mind returning to school, I’d even sit in the front so I could focus solely on my studies and not on the 19-year old kids sitting behind me.

As you can see I’m a little confused and stuck. I can’t return to school because I need to support my family. I also tell myself that I think its too late to return to school but then I have to remind myself that I’m only (yes, only) 28-years old and could be done by 33 or 34. Possibly in my prime…hehe. I don’t know. Any suggestions or scholarships anyone wants to give me? Hehe.

I guess I’ll just wait and see what God gives me. I’m teasing, I know it doesn’t work that way and I also know it takes a little more praying than what I’ve been doing.

Thanks for reading my confusion and I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

5 thoughts on “What is My Calling? – August 4, 2006

  1. I am sure you will excel at whatever you choose to do. No matter what you decide to do, you can always volunteer some time in the schools or with young people\’s groups. I look forward to hearing and seeing what unfolds with this portion of your life!

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  2. All I can say is pray about it. Seriously pray AND most importantly….LISTEN TO GOD about what to do! That tends to be the hard part. As far as going back to school….my Mom is in her 40\’s and is just now going back to school because she wants to be a history teacher. She starts in the fall. She never did it when we were younger because she was a single mom and wanted to be there for us. At a point you do have to follow your dreams and another thing….the richest people in the world dont always have alot of money….If you have a job you love everything else seems to fall into place.

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  3. Hi Kevin!  I suppose I should start out by introducing myself – I\’m Margie, and I found your site via mutual friends – Hillary & Cory.  From my point of view, it seems like you\’re an old friend since I\’ve been reading your blog for the past year.  Then there\’s looking at it from your side of the equation – I\’m just a random reader who – up till now – has lurked in the background.  At any rate, Hello!  and thanks for sharing your life and experiences and thoughts with all of us.  You\’ve really given me a lot to think about over the months.
     
    Anyway, what you wrote about above really rang a bell with me.  Enough so that I felt moved to comment, even though I never have before.  I really encourage you to follow through on discovering what is the right career for you.  I, too, spent years working at jobs (including a year at an insurance office, too!) that never really gave me any sense of fulfillment, sticking with them for a variety of reasons…it was expected of me, I needed an income, there wasn\’t anything really bad about it, I needed the insurance, etc.  But after a while, you do get a sense of emptiness in your life when this activity central to it really isn\’t where you should be. 
     
    Being open to options, willing to pray about the situation is a good start.  But even if you weren\’t, God would eventually get more and more blunt…at some point you will wonder why your life feels like you are hitting your head against a brick wall; then you will finally realize that this is God clearly pushing you in another direction.  But if you are willing to listen before it gets to that point – all the better for you!
     
    The reason I say this is, be really really open to considering things that seem absolutely outside the box for you career-wise.  You might think something else is a lot more sensible or realistic, only to wonder why later nothing seems to be progressing like it should (that would be the brick wall…).  I came to Japan last year at the same time as Hillary and Cory, and I really wondered if I was doing the right thing.  But everything else that seemed more reasonable back home in Washington just kept falling apart.  And simultaneously, this job with JET just reached out and pulled me in.  Now, with this year here, I like to think I\’ve become more willing to consider other opportunities.  At any rate, a career path that I never previously considered possible is opening up before me.  Hello, yes, I finally was willing to listen to what God wanted to tell me…it just took drastic measures on his part to get me to the the point where I could figure it out!
     
    So, that said (sorry for rambling on…), I think that teaching could very well be an option for you – and if it is, don\’t let the idea of a few more years of school deter you!  But then again, there could be a totally different option that would use your talents to benefit both you and others just waiting out there for you to recognize it.  So, as you said – and the other commenters have repeated – pray, but also be open to the idea that God\’s direction for you might be one that you never would have thought of in a million years.
     
    Okay, end of advice. 🙂  Good luck, and wishing you all the best!

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  4. you are never to old to start on a new career, or go to college. I am intrested in the book you were referring to , sounds like something I would like to read
    ~bj~

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  5. When you find the solution of going back to school and somehow still support your family, would you please kindly let me in on it. I\’ve been going through same motions for the past couple of years and I am really pondering the question, "What on Earth am I here for?" That book wouldn\’t happen to be The Purpose Driven Life would it?

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