Monday, July 09, 2012

Pause for Thought
BBC Radio 2
June, 2012

It’s my baby!

Not, of course, that it’s an actual baby complete with pram and rattle.

It might be our job we’re talking about or the book we’re writing. It might be our role as chairman of some local committee or our involvement with some activity or group of people that we’ve committed ourselves to for a period of time. There’s nothing there, mind,which excludes the child we’ve raised, fretted over, chided and bored to death with our stories. It’s just that the metaphor is moveable. It can be widely applied.

As is the case with all things or people we are important to, we sometimes forget that we are not indispensable. If we suggest to ourselves and others that without us they could do nothing – that we are their beginning, middle and end – but this, more often than not – provides an occasion for us to be dropped gently on our backsides.

We announce that we are moving on and find ourselves surprised how quickly our former colleagues and our employers put the ad in the papers advertising the position and call a meeting where they discuss our attributes and our shortcomings. They make an honest assessment of the past few years and decide that not only do they want to do as well when we are ultimately replaced. They would like to do better. It is no longer our baby.

And what about our real honest-to-goodness babies? Even they – it would seem – need to develop apart from us. Too soon they begin receiving sustenance from sources other than us – start keeping their cards close to their chests. They discover mentors who are not their parents and ways of life which are not in keeping with what we want for them.

All good work takes on its own life – and a building block of wisdom, it would seem, is that we are participants in the Cosmos and not the authors of it. The people and the areas of work we love have their own life – they always have – and we would be happier keeping a light grip on it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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