Sep 7, 2010
Over the years, I have noticed a discrepancy in the way parents treat their children’s ambitions. Parents often tell their young children that they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up. But do they really mean it? Fast forward several years, and have these same children – now young adults – tell their parents that their goals in life do not include higher education or a reputable career, but that all they really want to do is drive a garbage truck, or be a cashier in a fast food drive-thru window. All of a sudden, the support disappears and is quickly replaced with talk of wasted potential and the need for a respectable living.
Why the inconsistency? Our parents love us, and so they want us to dream big and shoot for the stars. They do not want us to think that we are not good enough to reach our goals. They try to encourage us to be ambitious because they want what is best for us. But what is best for us? What determines what is best in our lives? A large salary? A fancy office? A respectable title? What is it exactly that our parents really want for us? And what should we want for ourselves?
As we answer these questions in our lives, we must look inside ourselves and examine the deepest part of our being. We must understand who we really are, and doing so requires an understanding of ourselves as children of our Heavenly Father. This point is nicely illustrated in the classic Disney movie, “The Lion King.” Frightened and overwhelmed by his father’s death, the young lion prince Simba runs away from home. Years later, he is discovered living a life of “Hakuna Matata” – food, fun and friends with no worries.
Yet something is missing in Simba’s life, and that something is revealed in a conversation with his dead father, Mufasa, who appears among the stars one night to speak to his misguided son. “You have forgotten who you are, and so have forgotten me,” Mufasa says. “Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become.” As he remembers his identity as the child of a king, Simba also remembers his calling. He returns to take his rightful place on the throne, assuming the responsibilities that accompany this role.