Have you ever tried to get an 8-year-old boy to do his school homework? Recently, my wife and I found ourselves bargaining, bribing, and challenging our son, Jacob, to complete an overdue school project. In between bribes, it occurred to me that this was possibly one of the most difficult situations to experience WorkJoy, both as a kid and as a parent.
Jacob’s project was to report on an influential person, and he chose Rosa Parks. Side note: My son is biracial (African American), and we grew our family through God’s miracle of adoption. We were about to give up on completing the project and let Jacob experience the age-old and time-tested consequences of not completing his work, when we got to this question: How does what this influential person did affect your life today? Suddenly, Jacob engaged in that moment, saying, “Well… if she hadn’t made a stand, maybe I wouldn’t be in this family today.”
If he had a microphone, I would hope he’d have dropped it! Not only had our kid totally turned a situation around with one comment, but I realized later that he had reminded me of an important ingredient in the often complicated recipe for WorkJoy– context.
How does what I’m doing right now affect my story today? Life is full of choices. Rosa Parks had a choice on a bus back in December 1955. Jacob had a choice to engage his mind and answer a simple question. You have a choice to fully engage in the task in front of you today regardless of how mundane or challenging it may feel. There is always something new to learn and discover, and an opportunity to grow. Your choice today to engage or disengage will affect the choices of many others, or maybe just you. Either way, the choice is yours.
Context: reminding yourself why you are in this situation, how it affects you, and that fact that you have a choice to make. Understanding your context can make all the difference, and in the most unexpected of situations, it can lead to a greater sense of WorkJoy.
Getting my kid to do his homework hasn’t gotten any easier, but being grateful that I get to be his Dad makes ALL the difference. What is the context you need to be reminded of today to experience WorkJoy?