The Voice of Should

“Duties are not performed for duty’s sake, but because their neglect would make the man uncomfortable.
A man performs but one duty—the duty of contenting his spirit, the duty of making himself agreeable to himself.”*

 Monday, January 30, 2006 11:51:15 PM

I know a young man whose parents sent him to Harvard University to study medicine. It was his first time away from home and while he was away his heart came alive and he discovered art history. Now he wants to change his major from medicine to art history. You can imagine how upset his parents have become. They are trying to force him to get back on track and study medicine, and since he is a good boy he will surely give up his dreams and study what his parents want. He will do what he should do, study medicine. His parents will then get him married and his life will be set. This is the way of most children in our congregation. They do what they should. They are trained from the beginning of life to only listen to the voice of “should.”

The voice of should is the voice of reason, the voice of stability and the voice that leads to prosperity. It is also the voice of stagnation and the suppression of dreams. On the other hand, there is the voice of “destiny” which is the voice of vibrancy and often turmoil and instability. Anna, it is my contention that for a life to be successful, both voices must be heard. I understand the desire of this boy’s parents to see that he has a stable and safe life, but if he never listens to his voice of destiny his life will be burdensome and dry. At least a few important decisions in life must be made according to the cry of destiny. Why could this boy not be encouraged to at least take a few courses in art history? But I know his parents will not allow even a single spark of his soul to burn. This is the way for people who themselves have never listened to their own voice of destiny.


*Mark Twain

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