Are stars really that hard to find?

Submitted by Joe Schaeffer on May 14, 2014 - 4:49pm
A sneak peek from "Living Community" by Joe Schaeffer

If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.

––Katharine Hepburn

 We used to read a story to our children about a man who lived in a house in a neighbourhood in which all the houses looked alike.

This man had a gift for expressing himself through colour. So he painted his house many colours and decorated it with flowers and such.

“What is he doing?” the neighbours wanted to know. “He’s ruining the neighbourhood.”

After a while, however, a neighbour came over and stayed for a glass of lemonade on the man’s front porch. Something happened: he got caught up in the man’s delight, let go of his negative judgement, and went home to paint his own house to look like the ship he had dreamed of all his life.

Of course, one by one the other neighbours painted their houses to fit their dreams. Before long the neighbourhood was the most interesting in the city.

It is tragic that, as a culture, we do not celebrate the expression of diverse talents, abilities, and intelligences. This mindset may be dangerously maladaptive in the long run.

We can tie material reward to responsibility and accomplishment. But to what degree? In my culture, for example, there are ample rewards for talent for movement in athletics.

We do not reward talent for movement in dance as much. We celebrate talent for administration in business. When this same talent is applied in education, we consider it less valuable, secondary.

Of course we need to take responsibility for how we shall support ourselves, which might imply thinking ahead so as to prepare for a profession.

Often this takes enormous discipline. But how much creativity and positive change might we reap -- how much better might we live? -- if each of us was given the opportunity to explore and express our talents and abilities with true appreciation from others including reasonable financial rewards?


Celebrating Expression

Celebrating individual expression is a beautiful thing.

I see unhealthy competition and jealousy as a barrier to individual expression -- that celebrating another's talents is in some way devaluing your own.  How can we work to change this attitude?