Brooke Walker

image via Becky Higgins

It is no secret that I think Brooke Walker is pretty fantastic. She has incredible perspective and solid priorities, not to mention enviable talent. She was recently featured on Becky Higgins Blog in her series, Good Life. She wrote about how important thoughtful preparation is…here is a small excerpt (the whole thing is absolutely worth the read):

“I’m not sure exactly when or why it happened – but we seem to live in a world where thoughtful preparation is shortchanged. People seek out shortcuts, brush off shortcomings, and have somehow managed to convince ourselves we just don’t have the time to care. Thanks, in part, to the very fast-paced world around us, the easy path is becoming more and more crowded.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for simplifying. Give me cake from a box – heck, dinner from a box works just great, too  – and please pass the dry shampoo.

But then there are the times that matter — the times that deserve thoughtful preparation . . .”

Her words hit me hard, like truth often does. In our society the title carefree is often more desired than the title caring. People quickly shy away from endeavors that require effort, especially those without monetary compensation, and the bare minimum is usually all anyone expects. It’s no wonder. We have been coached for years now to embrace saying “no” in order to save ourselves from being uncomfortable. Unfortunately, when that practice is taken to the extreme, we lose opportunities for growth, development and friendship. The easy path, the low effort path, the “me first” path, the “wing it” path, may seem lighthearted and enjoyable, but we were meant for more.

At times, being stressed out and sleep deprived because we are working hard on something significant is good for us and good for our children to see.  In the end, hopefully, the result is success. Once in awhile, we may instead see hours wasted and unappreciated, but that, too, is important. Failures are refining and the gateway to discerning what in life really deserves our “thoughtful preparation.”

When we sacrifice our time and leisure for something (even something small, like a home-cooked meal for a sick neighbor or carefully planting a spring garden) and require of ourselves a job well done, our children might also be willing to put forth unabashed, thoughtful effort for things like spelling bees, a mile run, a detailed painting, or a science fair experiment, even if the outcome isn’t a blue ribbon or a golden trophy. They will, hopefully, never be the children who feel a need to apologize for being smart, dedicated, or engaged.

Because I am often a low-frills person and rather laid back most of the time, I am guilty of being flippant about extensive effort for small things. But, what is small to me is often great to another and appreciated by many.  In all honesty, I also do many things deliberately and with serious intent, many unseen, and I would hate my efforts to be dismissed as frivolous. So, I will be more grateful for the hard work of others, and I will appreciate what they have dedicated themselves to. Intensity is certainly not required for everything, but I am done pretending like life is better handled on the cheap.

Thank you, Brooke Walker, for my mid-week wake up call. You reminded me that truly investing and preparing for the important is never passè and that a caring heart is always en vogue.