Monday, July 14, 2008

A lesson from Johnny Bunko (Part 1)

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko

A few years back years back I read A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. I found the book so intreging that I began to develop a parenting curriculum off of some of the principles. I'm didn't get far, but plan to come back to that some day. I hope I can find the time to work on it since I think it will be pretty cool.

Over the last weekend, I ran across Dan Pink's blog. Pink, a former staff speech writer for Al Gore is not a believer as far as I can tell. Still, I think that he brings to light some serious changes in the culture and particularly in A Whole New Mind changes that will affect the readiness of young people for the future market place.

His latest work, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: the last career guide you'll ever need, is a manga illustrated story that unveils 6 lessons necessary to for a successful and meaningful career. Again, Pink doesn't write from a Christian perspective, but I think that the 6 lessons are consistent with Biblical principles that parents, youth and career people should take to heart. Pink is slowly publishing parts of the book on Johnny Bunko's blog. You can read the 6 lesson there and, at this point, the first 56 pages of the book.

I will be addressing all lessons eventually, but today I'm starting with the first two. The six lessons are.
  • There is no plan
  • Think strengths, not weaknesses
  • It's not about you
  • Persistence trumps talent
  • Make excellent mistakes
  • Leave an imprint

  • There is no plan. At first blush this doesn't seem like a Christian principle. It sounds like a young renegade's way of getting out of thinking ahead. However, it's the Boy Scouts who have the moto "be prepared." That's not a Bible verse. In fact, we are to trust God in all things and give all anxiety over in that trust. Pink doesn't mean that we don't look forward. Rather that we don't expect that we can know what the future can bring. Isn't there some story in the Bible about a man who planned to keep all his grain for the future only to find out that God called him that evening. Look at these verse too: Prov. 3:5-6; Phil. 4:6-7; Rom. 8:29-31; and 1Peter 5:7.  [Edit: See also Matthew 6:19-31 and Luke 12:13-21.]

    Particularly, I think Pink's point about making fundamental choices over instrumental choices is a Christian principle. Christians are supposed to make decisions based on God's values, not because they might lead to something better in the future.

    Think strengths, not weaknesses. Too often, we leave our jobs frustrated because we are told our limitations at work. Too often, we tell our students that they have gaping academic wholes without helping them see that they have a lot to offer. Obviously, weaknesses can become a problem in any career, but they shouldn't be the focus. Rather the Bible tells us that we should look at our strengths particularly as God gives them to us. The Bible uses the image of the body to demonstrate that every member of the church has a particular role to play, and particular gifts from God to play that role. God's point: focus on your strengths as he gives them to you, not your weaknesses. (1 Cor 12-14; Rom. 12:4-5)

    God has a plan for us, but we don't have to know it. We need to trust him to guide us day by day. God will work through our weaknesses, but he never asks us to focus on them. He want us to be the person that he created us to be. In creating us, he created our strengths and it is in those strengths we should follow God on our career path.