Brianna had enjoyed the stories of those who were alumni of Henry’s foundation. In many respects they mirrored her own story. She wanted to talk with Henry about what she learned from the stories so that she might prepare for her future role as Henry’s successor.
BH: I’ve begun to realize what you meant by crucible moments for discovering one’s talent. But each of the stories I wrote had a very different crucible moment. How do you help young people find their crucible moment?
HJ: The simple answer is that you can’t. Do you remember what your’s was?
BH: It’s something I’ll never forget. You gave me a bottle of ink.
HJ: Think about that moment.
BH: I guess it began when you saw me holding on to the fountain pen my father gave me. Then I told you the story behind it.
HJ: And then?
BH: You gave me that bottle of ink. I’ve come to realize that ink is hard to find because very few people use fountain pens anymore. Since I hardly ever received gifts from anyone, I guess I felt obligated to use the pen to write. Was my crucible moment one of a sense of obligation to you?
HJ: Not at all. It began much earlier. When I asked you about the pen, you told me a story. I realized then that you had a natural talent for storytelling. You captured the essence of your life in a very few words that came alive for me. I suspect that talent had been there all along, and I just facilitated it by giving you some ink.
BH: But those crucible moments seem to occur by chance. What if I hadn’t held that pen in my hand when I first met you?
HJ: I’m sorry I have no answer for that, but I’ll tell you I believe in fate. You can think of those crucible moments as lucky occurrences. I choose to believe there is a guiding hand at work.
BH: But if that’s the case, what role do we play?
HJ: We can certainly facilitate the conversion of the crucible moment into a reality. That’s the easy part. What’s tougher is to help our residents develop a positive outlook on life and help them find their talent. That’s why your stories are so important. Each story helps adds another piece to the hopeful outlook on life.
BH: I understand that, but still the stories I wrote began with random events. You can’t plan those.
HJ: Let me ask you what do the numbers 960, 6,720, and 350,400 mean to you?
BH: I have no idea.
HJ: Those are the number of waking minutes you typically have in a day, a week, and a year. Now think about how many chances you have to find your crucible moment.
BH: WOW!! I never thought of talent discoveries like that. I guess the key is to be alert to possibilities every moment of our lives.
HJ: That’s right, and that alertness is being developed through your stories.
BH: Thanks so much. Once again you have energized me.
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“The sin of inadvertence, not being alert, not quite awake, is the sin of missing the moment of life-live with unremitting alertness.”
– Joseph Campbell (Author)