My 4 year old son got a bunch of foam, toy swords for Christmas. He knew exactly what to do with them. However, once we started battling it became apparent that the goal (and fun) was whacking the other person’s sword. It wasn’t about hitting each other and winning the fight, but about who could hit the other sword the best.
Sometimes we are too focused on the activity of what we are doing that we forget why we are really doing it in the first place. Attendance becomes the substitute for engagement. Cleaning becomes the focus over preparing a space to be used. Presents become a distraction from the experience. Sustaining the system outpaces the purpose of the system.
I’m seeing this play out at work, at home, and in friendships. Going through the motions doesn’t count. Clocking in and out doesn’t get you there. Being around your family doesn’t always equate to being WITH them. But it’s so easy to mistake our activity for actual experience. Every so often it pays to stop, call a timeout and take an honest look at life. Then assess whether we are truly sword fighters or just fighting against other swords.