I’m currently reading a great business book by Simon Sinek called Start With Why. Simon theorizes that when companies have a deeper understanding of “why they do what they do”, their corporate culture and brand is more authentic and will attract a following. He uses examples such as Apple, Dr. Martin Luther King and Southwest Airlines as evidence that if you reveal why you are making a product, leading a movement or servicing customers, you will achieve much greater results.
I was drawn to the book because I have been stating for many years that the issues with our education system, politics and The Catholic Church is that no one asks why we do what we do anymore. Philosophy is viewed upon as something people do when they don’t know what they want to do. Thinking deeply is regarded as eccentric behaviour.
How many children learn math, science and spelling in school without a vision of how this translates into them making a better world in the future? Memorize this times table, check. Fill in the blank on this science test, check. Spell aluminum, check.
How many of us practice our faith by having a list of “whats” to do without a vision of how this translates into a deeper and profound relationship with our Creator? Got the Rosary done, check. Got my weekly confession in, check. Fulfilled my Sunday obligation, check!
In both instances, this narrow focus on what to do impedes true growth. What to learn at school without an understanding of why we learn it is an obstacle to innovation. What to do in our prayer life without an understanding of why we pray is a barrier to a lifelong relationship with Christ. I hear from many parents who are distraught because their adult children don’t go to Mass anymore. “We raised them in the Faith”, they say. “Took them to Mass every Sunday and taught them to pray!” My response to them every time is, “Why”?
The good news is that the Catholic Church has an answer to all whys. But it takes an eagerness to dig deeper into the Faith to find it. To love something is to know it. Simply possessing it doesn’t mean you love it. Just because you’re Catholic, doesn’t mean you love God. To truly love Jesus Christ and His Church, it takes a ferocious appetite to satisfy your why. God is in the details and since God is love, love is in the details. The details of why we go to Mass. The details of why divorce doesn’t actually exist. The details of why we baptize infants instead of just letting them “figure it out on their own.”
We can spend our entire parental lives teaching our children what the Church is, who Jesus Christ is, and how we are saved, but if don’t instill a zealousness to find out why, they will satisfy their hunger someplace else.
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