It Takes a Village...

The longer I live the more I realize we can narrow down most of our dispositions, as a people, to those who want to protect their place in the world and those who want to change the world.  It is not my intent to assign people to either/or categories, and I realize that most people live between these poles and  jump back-and-forth between the two extremes; it also seems true that each of our hearts and minds are usually and primarily motivated by one or the other dispositions.   

Allow me to add a caveat or two. By “change the world”, I don’t mean so much, they literally can single-handedly change the entire world.  For one, they don’t do anything single-handedly, and second, they look at the world as open to change, and they get to be a voice of change in the world.  Nor is a protecting necessarily a bad thing, rather it is what feeds or motivates the our protective bend.  That said, 

That said, I have learned through global experiences the study of civilizations, peoples, and the universe as a whole...

  • Those who want to change the world…

    • are typically more trusting of people

    • see the good before they see the bad

    • see the potential before they see the road blocks

    • are motivated by and make decisions based on what could be rather than fear of what might happen

    • welcome change rather than fear it

    • get burned by people more often, yet at the same time are blessed by and bless people more often

    • hold the things they have and the life they live with an open hand

    • give and receive generously (those who are truly generous not only give well, but are humble enough to receive well).   

    • believe they can’t do it alone, nor do they want to

  • Those who want to protect their place in the world…

    • are typically more suspicious of people

    • see the negative before they see the good

    • make life moves based on possible disasters rather than potential growth

    • are motivated by fear of what may come or what could happen

    • structure their lives to keep things the way they are and people at a distance

    • get burned by people less often, while on the same hand, have less people in their lives

    • hold the things they have and the life they live tightly

    • keep score of what they give

    • believe they can and should do it alone, and believe that to be a virtue

I write this from experience. While, I certainly have some natural tendencies in the “world changing category“, for much of my early life, my natural disposition was to “protect my space in the world.” It took going through a lot, and having people believe in me, and making hard choices against my natural disposition that finally allowed me to live out of a world-changing mentality. Why am I writing this?  I’m getting there.  I have done a lot in my 43 years.  A lot.  I have traveled and seen a lot.  I have worked with celebrities, global leaders, oppressed populations, and…the list could go on.  I have been invited to both listen to and advise those in places I have no credentials for.  How?  Why?  Because of people.  Because I wasn’t afraid to dream beyond my current place in the world and I knew I needed people to help me live beyond my scope.  I have taken/received (depending on your disposition) a lot of advice, time, money, and presence from others.  I have also given a lot of time, advice, and money to others.  But I’m not a score keeper.  While Sarah and I would not have done the things we have, gone to the places we have, accomplished the things we have, without the sacrificial giving of others, and many of which are gifts that I cannot ever repay, there are others who could not have done the things they have done, been to the places they have been, or accomplished the things they have accomplished had it not been for the sacrificial giving from me and Sarah.  I don’t want to secure my kids a place in the world, I want to train them to stand on my shoulders to see and do beyond what I have seen and done.  I want them to go further than I have gone, not stay where I am.  I want them to know more than I know.  And I know the only way this is possible is to invite others to participate in their lives, so that one day, my kids will also pay-it-forward and pour into the lives of others.  

Many of you know my two oldest, Ashton and Serena, are heading overseas this summer.  They have the mindset of world-changers.  They accepted the challenge to live out a story that was too big for them to write on their own.  They took on the humility of inviting others to participate in it and make it happen.  Ashton and Serena, have been both raising support and working for funds to pay for their trips.   So, many people have responded with so much grace and generosity.  Last week (April 9th), Ashton turned 15, and for his birthday I made a post on facebook about his last $500 to raise.  The out pouring was amazing!  People I don’t know very well or just know through business or casually, gave…a lot! Then we had some of our favorite customers walk into Knox County Brewing Co on Saturday (April 13) and said, “we want to pay off their trips.”  Right there in my brewery, I cried.  I didn’t sob, I tried to fight it, I mean, c’mon, there were customers around.  It wasn’t because of the amount they gave that I cried (though that was generous), it was because they believed in us and them enough to say, “I want to be part of the story, and I want to help move their story forward.”

So, indeed, to live beyond your scope, to live beyond my scope, it takes a village.  It takes the mindset of world-changers.  It takes sacrifice on all of our parts.  I am so thankful that our “village” stretches all over the US, from Florida to California, from Texas to Illinois.  So, why do I write this, simply to say, “thank you for being you.”  And while you may not have considered yourself a world changer, you have indeed changed the world of my kids, and hopefully through that, they will change the world for others, and therefore you are changing the world of those you will never know or meet.  Your influence goes well beyond you, and for that the Hansen clan says, “Thank you!”

Cheers…