Burofocus Consulting Bureau

The Catalyst Project

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Building a nation: A Challenge For Each Category of Life

Dr. Nilda Arduin, 1999

The complexity of life can cause confusion and uncertainty in the process of building a nation. However, in order to deal with life's challenges structurally, and try to bring order in the complexity of life, I tend to agree with Bobb Biehl, President of Master Planning Group International (a consulting organization) as he concludes that nearly everything in life fits into one of seven areas: family/marriage, financial, personal growth, physical, professional/career, social and spiritual. (The On My Own Handbook, by Bobb Biehl, 1997). Some events fit into more than one category.

Setting priorities and considering the implications of our actions against each of the mentioned categories gives us a method to evaluate and improve on our personal decisions, as well as our relationship with others in life. Finding a proper balance, as we struggle through life, both individually and collectively, will help create a healthy nation. Let's consider some issues related to the various categories as we strive and move to build our nation on its way to possibly stand on its own.

Family/marriage relates to issues that have to do with both the family we grew up in, as well as our own family which we build through marriage. How do we share love, handle commitment and our responsibilities? Which are the principles, norms and values we teach our children, uphold and live by as a family? What about encouragement and communication? Are we drawing from the wisdom and experience of the older people in our families?

The financial category includes everything that has to do with money. What is the role of money in our lives? What are our financial priorities? Are we borrowing money for things that will increase in value, or do we use our credit line mainly for things that depreciate in value to keep up with the Jones'? Are we living within our means? Money is a means, not an end!

Personal growth refers to how we grow as an individual, as well as a community. It is important to empower yourself as well as others. We cannot deny or refuse to face realities; it is time for us to face up and deal with the reality of our multi ethnic society. It takes conscious effort to master the art of positivism and grow.

Physical grooming and health; our body is the tool by which we identify ourselves and which enables us to perform. Only a healthy people can build a strong nation. We need to live a balanced life.

Professional/Career includes your education in the broadest sense of the word, your jobs and everything related. A requirement for making choices in life is a certain level of education. A baby cannot make choices, while a five year old can make an educated choice between a mango and a handful of sweeties, watching television or going with daddy to a baseball game, wearing a short pants or a long one when going to a birthday party of a particular friend.

Having the proper and clear facts in a situation enables us to make efficient and effective choices; proper planning and research helps with listing our priorities and reduce the risks of unnecessary and unwise choices. The experiences of others can also be a great learning tool. Focus should be on our strengths, rather than on our weaknesses, while the method of input, process, output and feedback should be applied in educating ourselves.

We should invest in our education not just for the material advantages, but more so as a means for personal growth, enhancing our quality of life and becoming a more balanced person and society. Education promotes communication, communication produces understanding.

Our social behavior is a reflection of the stage we are in our personal growth. Let's together start concentrating on, and executing principles of sharing and caring. Sharing does not only mean talking about your strengths, but also letting others know that we have weaknesses; we are all interdependent.

Caring takes more than just talking with each other, but it includes genuinely making an effort to go beyond the other person's words; become positively involved in your neighborhood and the community. Caring often requires a change of heart. We need to refocus our mind-set with regard to social graces, friendships, loyalty and confidentiality.

What we believe about people in general influences our behavior and attitudes towards others: we should approach the other person always with respect and assume that people generally do what makes sense to them, don't want to fail, want to make a difference, want to grow and need to be encouraged just like yourself. A wise person considers the effects of his/her actions on all of the people involved, not just the profit for him/herself.

Spirituality pertains to the dimension of our devotional life. For ages men have tried to do things their own way, drifting further and further from God's way. We need to get back to basics. God's word, the Bible, gives us the absolute standard for right and wrong. Applying biblical answers that cannot be questioned, rather than life's questions that cannot be answered will produce victory.

We need to recognize our uniqueness in God's sight as a flower of a particular kind, being part of a beautiful floral arrangement where the smallest white snowflakes are as important as the application of green leaves, the roses and the other flowers which make up the total bouquet.

In closing, it is fair to say that each category of life is a challenge for our personal and collective growth. Life without a goal is like a race without a finish line. Let's make building our nation our collective goal.