By Executive Director Claire Louge

There’s a parable about a woman who walks by three men working on a building site, each doing the same thing.

The woman asks the first man what he’s doing. “I’m hauling bricks,” he says.

She asks the second man what he’s doing. “I’m building a wall,” he states.

She asks the third man what he’s doing. “I’m building a cathedral,” he answers.

The men are all performing the same action, but their answers show how differently they are framing their purpose.

Purpose, according to author Daniel H. Pink in his book Drive, is one of the three essential elements to feeling motivated and happy in our work roles. That motivation and happiness tends to be the fuel we use to sustain our long-term efforts and drive ourselves forward.

In every job, there are tasks that can feel menial, tedious, or grueling. In our sector, many of us can find it hard to make a direct connection from everything we do to a specific, positive impact on a child or family, or a specific, visible change.

Like building a cathedral, our work takes dedication to values, ideals, and a vision of what we want to create. Our ‘cathedral’ is an Arizona in which all families have what they need to nurture their children. Where children are protected from harm because we have collectively created the conditions for families to thrive. Where children are safe with their families.

Beginnings – like new years, the starting or re-starting of projects, or the launching of a new legislative session, can feel daunting. Keeping ourselves going in the work of building a better Arizona for kids and families is challenging. There’s so much to care about, to address, to change, to advocate for, and our voluminous to-do lists can feel like a massive pile of heavy bricks to haul.

But remember, we’re building a cathedral. One purposeful brick at a time. They take a while to build. They take planning. They take vision. And most of all, they take many, many people often doing unglamorous, grueling tasks. We each have a critical part in creating something monumental.