I know that is counter to what is commonly taught from psychologist and behavioral specialist. None the less I stand by my premise.
Don’t get me wrong. I love history. I am fascinated with almost all things historical. After all, we are who we are and we are where we are because of the people and events of the past, whether good or bad. It is appropriate, yes biblical, to honor and celebrate the victories of the past as well as to recall and mourn the failures.
History is our mentor. There is much we can learn from it. It has been famously said that those who do not know the past are doomed to repeat it. That is certainly true and one very good reason to study history.
However, it is not in knowing, understanding, or celebrating our past that endows us with a better future than our ancestors but it is in knowing, understanding, and celebrating our future that gets us there. Let me give you an example.
I witnessed so many privileged students wasting their time (and their parents’ money) not because they had such a horrible past they couldn’t overcome but they had no concept of their future or what they wanted. Many wandered without purpose through their college years and beyond - failures of prosperity. But I also witnessed many students, from challenging backgrounds and with limited resources, excel because they knew exactly where they were going. They refused to be victims of poverty or a hurtful past.
My own story of poverty, abuse, and neglect, gives testimony (at least to me) to the fact that where you are going is more important than where you have been.
Organizations, like people, must grab hold of a future rather than suffer or, in some cases, glory in the past. The thing about history is that it exists in the past. Hope doesn’t live in the past. Hope lives in the future.
I am the Executive Director of Patrick Henry Family Services because a group of visionaries started a ministry in this community sixty years ago but I will come to work tomorrow and every day after that, not because of those visionaries who started this work but because my own vision of what I want to leave to this community sixty years from now.
Mission expresses a goal not yet reached, a purpose not yet fulfilled, a hope not yet realized. Mission is what compels us into the unknown future with meaning and confidence. Yes, we are here today because of history. But, we will be here tomorrow because of a vision for the future.
To embrace the future we must adapt to current realities and future trends. We recognize that some of our efforts are little more than educated guesses, leaps of faith if you will, investments in something we hope will come to fruition. Anchored in core principles and driven by our desire to max out our timeless mission, we boldly launch out into the future.