Habits really need to be driven by a higher purpose, something more than to “be better.” Too often, habits both good and bad determine the identity and the story. The successful person identifies the dream and the plan and then establishes habits to achieve that result. That dream or plan may be concrete or conceptual, yet fulfillment is the result of small habits over time.
Habits are the means by which we reach our goals. Here’s an example: retirement funds are never the result of a single investment. Instead, the retirement investment is a long series of small deposits over a very long time. That is why it is critical to start early, even if it is only a few dollars at a time. What is your dream or vision? What is the desired result? What habits will move you in that direction?
The first foundation stone of the Cologne Cathedral in Germany was placed in 1248. It had been dreamed of years earlier to honor the Three Kings (or Three Wise Men, depending on your background) that brought gifts to Jesus shortly after his birth. Work continued until 1473. The original plans were rediscovered in the early 1800s and a renewed passion in the community inspired an effort to complete the massive project. In 1880, 632 years after the first foundation stone was placed, the cathedral was completed and celebrated.
The old gothic cathedrals were dreamed of by people who would never see the finished masterpiece. That didn’t stop the dreamers from dreaming. They dreamed. They planned. And then they implemented. The dreamers took the first small steps and placed the cornerstones. They passed along the vision to the next generation. They worked and worked. And then they pass along the vision to the next generation. Today, we enjoy the work of multiple generations. What is the modern equivalent? Trains, highways, democracy, a family recipe. What else?
It seems as though we have forgotten how to honor past generations and to leave something of value for the next generation. Let’s change this. There are stories worth repeating. Let’s identify the inheritance that is ours. Let’s put effort into leaving a worthwhile inheritance for our children’s children.
Here are two verses for reflection on the subject:
Proverbs 13:22a (NIV) “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children…”
Joel 1:3 (NLT) “Tell your children about it in the years to come, and let your children tell their children. Pass the story down from generation to generation.”
What old stories do we need to tell? What stories are forming today that we need to pass down? Perhaps equally important, what story are you writing today?