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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Defining Success

A magazine from my university Alma Mater came in the mail yesterday.  It's always interesting to peruse the magazine.  As I did so, I was immediately impressed with the growth of the school.  Once pretty much confined to a small bluff overlooking the city, the school has gone on to build or acquire several buildings in the surrounding neighborhood, greatly expanding its size.  I graduated 20 years ago this May (hard to believe), and it is amazing how much the school has changed in that amount of time.  I am sure, my grandfather, who graduated nearly 60 years ago, would also marvel.  He attended the university at a time when the esteemed fathers both taught and ran the school.  

The other thing that is always fun to read is the "where they are now" part.  I am not sure if all college alumni magazines do this, but this one does.  It lists the accomplishments and achievements of alumni.  Like so and so has been named CEO of this corporation or non-profit organization.  Or, this person has been appointed to this position . . . . I always look for people I might know, though usually I don't know anyone.  I don't think in the years we've received the magazine I have ever seen mentioned anything like this:

 Jennifer F. ('91), married to wonderful husband, Dave ('87), they are successfully homeschooling their five children in the Catholic tradition.  Dave, while holding down a full-time job, has been named principal and CEO of their home school, while Jennifer is the assistant principal and main teacher.  They are active members of their parish and strive to live their faith to the fullest every day.

I am sure that to many of my former classmates, I would not be considered successful.  I am  not advancing in the profession for which I trained (elementary education), nor have I made a career of the military (I was also in ROTC).  If anyone had told me 20 years ago, that I would be most successful as a stay at home mom with five children, I would have probably told them they were crazy.  I probably would have uttered words like, "Never in a million years!" or "I don't think so!"  I am sure I would have sent God into a fit of giggles over that one! 

Reflecting now on where I am at, I see the wisdom of God is far greater than I could have imagined.  Once success to me meant being happy in a career field that netted me an income that would pay the rent, keep the lights on and perhaps give me a jingle in my pocket.  I guess, it fits - - thanks to the hard work of my husband, we have a roof over our heads, the lights haven't gone out, and while I don't always carry money, occasionally I do have two nickels to rub together.  And though some days may prove a little more difficult than others, I realize that success cannot always be measured by the amount of money or accolades earned from the outside world.  That sometimes success comes in the form of a lesson well-learned, of virtues cultivated, and that "You are the best mommy in the whole wide world, mommy!" that occasionally comes at the end of the day.  What can be better than that?

Many blessings to you!

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