The Ultimate Gift.
In our consumer world (proof: you may have already thought of a movie title), two things dominate: 1) buy something for yourself, because you deserve it!; and/or, 2) buy something for someone else, because they deserve it! “Need” is ancient history…
It’s now June, and the Big Three will keep you up at night, scanning Amazon for options: Dads, Grads, and Brides/Grooms. Each category is a unique buying challenge: what will you do?
Graduates are already out in full force. Elementary, Middle and High School are relatively easy; any electronic device – or a gift card from the Apple Store – and you’re good-to-go. College/University is where it gets challenging: what could you possibly deduce for the new graduate who has a fresh diploma – with a decade of monthly payments attached – as they return their cap and gown?
Here’s the Ultimate Gift: line up an appointment for them with a Placement Professional, and gift them the first hour of consultation.
The ultimate of undergraduate programs transfer the knowledge of the ages – through print-on-paper books or digital volumes on iPads – and create examination experiences that test the speed of recall to earn honors and certificates, but when the family who came to town for commencement head for the airport, where does the graduate go? What’s waiting for the young adult without a next semester?
Two options loom large on the horizon. Politicians think the two are employed, or unemployed. For them, the only issue is a paycheck. That’s just a statistic; it doesn’t reflect the pulse of real life…
The real fork-in-the-road, for everyone, separates the work world between sweat shops (the unfulfilled majority) and sweet spots (the fulfilled few). The Placement Professional is a mentor-for-hire whose specialty is helping people find the answer to Right Person/Right Place/Right Time.
The fireside fable paints the picture of a solo operator who goes-it-alone and climbs to the summit of success as a self-made superhero, with no one to blame for failures and no one to thank for victories. The celebration dinner – after the ultimate conquest – happens at a table-for-one. Really?
Invite God to be the commencement speaker (unlikely: he isn’t a political has-been), and listen to what he would likely counsel the young guns in the rows before him: “It is not good for the man to be alone…” (Genesis 2:18) “There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. ‘For whom am I toiling,’ he asked, ‘and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?’ This too is meaningless – a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:8-10) “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body… If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12)
Alone? Productivity: 1=1. Sweat shop? Productivity: 1+1=2. Sweet spot? Productivity: 1×1=10. Throw people together, and you make some minimal progress. Place people – based on the mystery of their unique divine design – alongside one another, and there’s no limit to what can happen.
Forty-six years ago today – that was June 5, 1971 – I joined a field test of this concept. Cheri and I were married that day – in her family home, with 26 people in attendance – and we became another lab study of the “1×1” formula.
Thanks be to God (and, to her!): the match was made in heaven. We’ve seen productivity – and an amazing journey, together – that confirms the ultimate plan: we’re better, together, every time…