The Destination or the Journey?

Willie was invited by his grandfather to go to the store to get some groceries. It was a long walk in the snow, but he always enjoyed his grandfather’s company. As they walked across the countryside, Willie ran over to his neighbor’s barn to pet the cow, and then returned back to the road with his grandfather. Then, he ran over to the other neighbor’s tree that had a swing hanging from one of the branches. He took a few swings, and then ran back to catch up with his grandfather. A little farther along the road, he saw Sally, a girl from school, sitting on her front porch. Willie ran over to say, “Hi,” and then came back to the road.

When they finally reached the store at the top of the hill, the grandfather said to Willie, “Turn around and look at our tracks in the snow. Do you see how my tracks go straight down the road from our house to the store, while yours go left and right and everywhere? When you have a goal in life, it’s best to stay focused on where you are going and not get distracted.”

“But Grandfather,” Willie replied, “If I stayed on the road, I wouldn’t have petted the cow, or swung on the swing, or said, ‘Hi!’ to Sally.”

There are those who focus on the journey and those who focus on the destination. Each has its value. If you follow every distraction, you may never reach your goal. On the other hand, if you focus only on your goal, you may miss out on life. There are times when we must focus on our goal, but there are other times when we need to stop and smell the roses. Achievement requires sacrifice, but we must always be aware of how much we are willing to sacrifice. We are not human DOINGS, we are human BEINGS, and sometimes it’s more important to BE than to DO. Life has more than one dimension.

Although we all have 4 Dimensions to our lives, we do not all have an equal balance in each dimension: Some are more physical and may become professional athletes. Some are more mental and may become brilliant scientists. Some are more emotional and may be more concerned with the relationships in their lives than their accomplishments. Others are more spiritual and may dedicate their lives to religious pursuits. No one way is better or worse than the others.

My goal is to make you aware of the 4 Dimensions and help you develop your child in each dimension to live a well-balanced life. If your child chooses to focus on one area over the others, that is her right. I just recommend that you instill in her a desire to be balanced rather than one-sided. Even a brilliant scientist can have a healthy body, loving relationships, and a fulfilling spiritual life.

Once again, please remember that although you are responsible for your children, you do not own them, and you cannot control them. They are unique beings who are not here to re-live your life as you would have liked it. They are here to live their own lives, make their own mistakes, and create their own futures.

You are the gardener who helps the tree bear fruit.

You are not King Arthur; you are Merlin.

You are not the hero of their story . . .  you are the teacher or coach who helps the hero make history.  

Take joy in your role and the journey you take together.

Excerpted from the book Raising 4 Dimensional Children in a 2 Dimensional World by Tim McCarthy, available at

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