“Who do you want to be when you grow up?” Most likely we’ve all been asked this question, and probably have asked it ourselves, a time or two. In psychology, there are a variety of models of personality development that set out to explain the answer to that question–some focus on early childhood experiences or interpersonal relationships or ethnic identity. Often, identity development theory centers on the theme of finding meaning and purpose in life and contributing to society. College is a time of heightened identity exploration which provides unique opportunity for self-reflection and vocational discernment.Continue reading “Identity Exploration and Vocational Discernment”
Who is caring for the caregivers? Who is caring for our chaplains? Who is caring for our devoted teachers, especially the ones students trust to have several boxes of tissues handy? These are the caregivers whose vocation it is to provide such care, who want to provide this care. But these are also often the very people for whom, for a variety of reasons, it is very, very difficult to admit that they also need care.
When I sat down at the computer at 4 am this morning, my intention was to write an entry summarizing some remarks I made during a recent NetVUE gathering at Pepperdine University. Instead, I ended up writing about a conversation I’d had during a car ride at the conference—a conversation that, I think, is the reason I was awake at 4 am. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, and I’ve had several other conversations about it since I got back to my own campus. It was a conversation about vocation, burnout, and suicide.Continue reading “Caring for the Care-givers: A Plea”
One of the key skills needed for vocational discernment is the ability to know who or what one is besides being just a consumer.
Over the last couple of months I have been slowly savoring Wendell Berry’s latest collection of essays and short fiction, The Art of Loading Brush. Many of us who think carefully about vocation and teaching vocational discernment love Berry’s writing, and this collection reminded me why. He explicitly discusses vocation in the context of creating life-giving local economies, and in thinking through his argument I found a useful way of talking to students about vocation: making a distinction between being a consumer and being a producer, and the value of thinking of oneself as something more than just a consumer.Continue reading “Wendell Berry on Being More than a Consumer”
StoryCorps, a collection of archived interviews with everyday people talking about their lives, is a treasure trove of vocation-related stories. Becky Lahti shares her favorite stories that she has found useful in working with students about calling and purpose.
As Douglas V. Henry notes in the first line of his contribution to At This Time and In This Place, “Vocation has a narrative quality.” It comes as no surprise, then, that hearing the stories of others can play a helpful role in vocation exploration. In my experience, students love to hear the stories of faculty, staff, and other older adults in their lives. They enjoy hearing about how we came to where we find ourselves today, taking comfort in our stories’ winding paths and the rebounds from setbacks.
While there are many ways to create opportunities for such storytelling, we can also look to stories outside of our own communities. I don’t mean the stories of calling from larger-than-life figures like Mother Teresa and Gandhi. Such stories are important and have their place, but they can be a bit daunting to the average college student. For vocational stories of everyday people, I look to the treasure trove of archived interviews collected by StoryCorps.