People can have an ideal for themselves, for their family, for a group, their country or even mankind.
I work for a hospital. Our workplace ideal is to be the healthcare provider of choice in our county. My husband and I have an ideal, as parents, of raising our children to become responsible, productive and contented adults. A national ideal in the United States is to offer freedom and opportunity to every citizen.
Our ideals can be characterized by our goals. If a person seeks a certain set of goals, her ideal will be different from someone pursuing other goals. The person whose primary goal is career advancement will have a different ideal than someone whose goal is to raise and nurture a large family.
We also need the recognize the difference between the ideals we actually hold — our real ideals–and those we like to believe we hold –our apparent ideals. Too often we tell ourselves we hold a very worthwhile goal, when, in truth, the way we live points to something very different. I find my teenage daughters are very good at picking up on this tendency. We recently had a very heated discussion about why I thought they should attend our church youth group meetings. I saw my ideal as helping them to make Christian friends and grow in their faith. They felt that since they attend church and already have Christian friends, my true ideal was to look good in the eyes of others, especially my friends, the youth leaders. Know what? They were probably right.
The time has come to consider the question, “What is my ideal?”
Compare your life to a boat. Your ideal — what you are trying to become–is the mast. Your personality–what you are–is the keel. These two elements determine what your life will be like. If the mast is too large, it will swamp the boat, but if it is too small, the boat will not travel as far as it could.
Think about your life. Where do you direct your thoughts? How to do you spend your money? What do you do with your spare time? The answer to these questions will reveal your true ideal.
Hoping this will raise some questions we can post about this month. Authors and readers, what is your true ideal?