Every practicing lawyer is also a student.
We learn new things each day. We are tested all the time. We have to deal with homework, lesson plans and pop quizzes.
And we are graded by our performance.
I began thinking about how education and the law are linked when I attended an assembly at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where my youngest son is a student.
College president Barry Glassner gave a brief but powerful talk to the student body and parents. His remarks were specifically aimed at incoming freshmen. But they applied to everyone who was there – and they might resonate with you as well.
4 Questions to Ask Yourself
President Glassner asked the students several questions:
- What are the top five issues that you most care about?
- What are your major concerns right now – and what are your major interests?
- Have you acted on these concerns and interests in some way today?
- How do you want to make a difference in the world?
Heavy questions, for sure. They tackle the Big Issues. They probe the heart of our yearnings and desires.
But notice: though the focus is on what lies ahead in our life journey, the word “future” is never used. The focus is on the Present. How do I feel Right Now? What I am doing with my life Right Now?
And though the talk was given at an institution of higher learning, there was no mention of jobs, money or even education per se. The speaker asks us to examine deeper stuff.
I think when we are young we can easily identify the things we care deeply about: mommy, ice cream, bubble baths, teddy bears. And we know exactly how we want to make a difference in the world – by becoming doctors, lawyers, firefighters, Beyonce.
But as we age we tend to grow less certain. We fall into programmed ruts. We become distanced from our own dreams.
What are your answers to President Glassner’s questions? If you had trouble even coming up with answers to some of them, what does this say about you and your life?
And how can you change that in 2014?
Jay Reeves a/k/a The Risk Man is an attorney licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina. Formerly he was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 919-619-2441.