Rituals and Growth Points

Coffee by Christoph

Dear Son,

When I give you these letters you may be too young to appreciate coffee, but I make a damn fine brew.  I like to take my time and make sure that I use filtered water, a clean pot, and a well-rinsed basket. Much of the time, I grind my own beans freshly, too.  Making a good pot of coffee this way takes time and energy. Often, making good coffee can take 15-20 minutes. The average Joe takes only about four minutes to make his Joe.

So why do I bother?

The answer is that everyone needs both ritual and a challenge to grow on.

A ritual can be anything from prayer, to a bedtime story, to watching a show regularly.  They give you an anchor point to your day, making the world a little more consistent and your stress a little more manageable.

A good Ritual grounds you in the Here and Now, clearing your mind of excessive worry or rumination.  It helps you take care of your mental balance.  And if the ritual is well-designed, it can help you change your frame of mind.

For example, a ritual of writing a letter everyday to one’s son can fill a man with hope for the future and confidence in the uncertain waters of becoming a parent.

A growth point is any skill or action that you keep trying to improve. I am trying to make the best cup of coffee that I possibly can.  I try new things, experiment and learn, which reminds me of the simple joy of learning.

You may never learn to like coffee; it is an acquired taste, but I hope that as you grow up that you will develop rituals for yourself to make it easier to maintain mental balance.  And I hope that I instill in you the kind of love of learning that will make working on a growth point enjoyable.



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