Staff and students on our Ashmore Rd campus were privileged to welcome Brisbane Bullets professional basketball player, Jeremy Kendle to chapel last week to share some of his story. Jeremy spoke about being obsessed with filling his life up with stuff, and the pressure he felt to fulfill his potential as a professional basketball player. Later in life, through his growing faith in God, he realised that to lead a fulfilled and joy-filled life he needed to focus on the purpose of his life and that the realisation of his potential would then follow naturally.
His juxtapositioning of these two ideas, potential and purpose, provided me with a great deal of food for thought throughout the week. As an educational institution, we ought to reflect on how we educate children, and instil in them the values and life skills that will guide and support them throughout life, rather than filling their heads with only knowledge on subject matters or focusing only on getting good grades.
Reflecting on Kendle’s message, I recalled a presentation I made to the Ashmore Road campus students at a recent assembly. I shared the amazing efforts of young people, aged 10 to 16 years of age, from around the world, who were driven soley by the need to improve the lives of people around them. Living such purpose driven lives helped these young people to ask the right questions and then find solutions to these questions. Examples include innovator, Alexis, who designed masks for occupants trapped in burning buildings to increase their chances of survival while waiting to be rescued by firefighters; entrepreneur, Kevin, who built batteries and radio station from waste materials in Africa; medical innovator, Anushka, who designed a smart bandage for those who suffered from chronic wounds and needed their bandages to be changed frequently and timeously; and last but not least, Boya, a young man who designed an ocean cleaning device and is now CEO of the foundation. These young people were driven by the need to make a difference in the lives of people around them. They did not allow their age, lack of knowledge or qualifications, or their circumstances to halt or delay their search for solutions.
I can’t help but agree with Jeremy Kendle - it is more important to help our young people to clarify and understand their purpose in life rather than to simply help them to realise their potential. To clarify their purpose in life, we need to expose them to a range of opportunities, including difficulties and challenges, so that they are able to explore their unique calling and purpose and realise their fullest potential. There is real power in finding one’s purpose.