Build Or Suffer

We are called to be 
the architects of the future, 
not it’s victims.”
– Buckminster Fuller

It seems like we’re accidental builders, or that a lot of us are. Without intention and without designs, we meet people and go to places. Then we do things and learn. Then we go other places and meet other people. Along the way we make friends, we pull together connections, and we build community. By accident.

In my final year of college I had the chance to reflect on my 14 years experience as a youth worker- that was 2002.  It was during the course of writing a 150-page critical examination of those experiences that I discovered that all my work had a thread I hadn’t consciously acknowledged before: I consistently sought jobs where I taught children and youth. That was just beginning to change when I started at The Evergreen State College, the eighth college in my undergraduate experience. But until that point, direct service teaching kids and teens was where my heart and hands were at, and its what caused my mind to explode with ideas and possibilities.

Rather than living life by accident, I had unconsciously threaded together a career with powerful learning and substantive impact. I continued to weave that thread after that, and up to this point it has been very rewarding. But after writing that reflection, I started threading my needle on purpose and weaving with intention. To me, that is being the architect that Bucky talked about above.

How can we deliberately grab life by the horns and live life with intention? How can we not suffer the consequence of unconsciousness and not be victimized by the journeys we are all on in every part of our lives, personal, professional, social, academic, cultural, and so on?

I have spent the last year studying this commandment of “Build or Suffer”. I want to build! Throughout all of the rest of my life, I want to be the absolute best dad, partner, teacher, and live-r that I possibly can be! I am excited to keep learning, and am well aware that I have a whole lifetime of opportunity ahead of me. The difference is that today I am designing my learning in all these ways, rather than suffering my unconscious choices. What a life!

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker and writer who researches, writes and shares about youth, education, and history. Learn more about me at

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