Why we do
What we do
-Big Idea (1993)
I grew up watching episodes of animated, anthropomorphic vegetables telling stories and teaching life values and principles from a Biblical stance. VeggieTales, as it was called, had a knack for retelling Bible stories and setting it in a different context (The Good Samaritan retold where the nations were identified by who wore shoes versus pots on their heads) or taking popular tales and putting a Biblical application on it (Lord of the Beans). Time and again, I was captivated by the creativity of storytelling the creators poured into each production. Additionally, I adored all the songs that were included, regardless if it was Silly Songs with Larry or a musical number in the regular portion of the show. But I digress.
I remember singing along to the little bumper at the beginning of each episode. Six simple notes accompanying a black-and-white clip of a little girl walking. A chord that would fade in the company’s logo, Bob and Larry standing with the letters, and then a fade to white before the tuba kicked off the theme song. It wasn’t until I got older that I started wondering about the significance of the Big Idea company name and its slogan.
Why “Big Idea Productions, Inc.”? Why “why we do what we do?”
One of my friends introduced me to this concept called the Golden Circle as illustrated by Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, “Start with Why”:
If you don’t have the time to sit through his video, I’ll summarize it here. In the Golden Circle, there are three concentric circles, where the outer ring is the “What”, the middle ring is the “How” and the very center is the “Why”. From a business standpoint, pretty much every business knows what they do–the service they offer, the products they sell, etc.–even fewer know how they do it–the logistics, marketing, management, etc. Sinek suggested that too few know or operate out of the why. The why is what people buy into the company for. People get behind “your purpose, your cause, your belief“, but not because you have something they want/need. There are plenty of other companies that can probably offer the same quality products. No, they buy into the belief behind what you’re offering.
This past summer, I took a trip to the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, CA. Anyone who knows me knows that I love my Disney adventures, and this was no exception. I was truly captivated by the journey that Walt Disney took throughout his lifetime. How did this man and his brother make such a legacy for their family’s name? They came from practically nothing and took incredible risks and suffered bankruptcy to pursue their dreams in film and animation. Furthermore, when undertaking a project the size of Disneyland, they essentially sacrificed everything they had. Why?
The story goes like this. Walt Disney was sitting on a bench, watching his daughters play on the merry-go-round, when he thought, “There should be a park where the whole family can have fun together.” (Not a direct quote.) However, Walt had already sketched ideas for such a place before his children entered his life. In fact, Main Street of Disneyland is inspired by a park he went to as a kid in Kansas. I believe Walt had this innate desire to bring families together and to create a place that brought back the happiness and excitement he remembered from Electric Park as a child. That was his purpose. That was his cause. He believed in the joys of life shared by families.
That’s why I think Disneyland was such a success. People came because they bought into this belief in family fun, and his dream skyrocketed from there.
Back to Big Idea Productions, Inc. I went on a hunt to find anything I could about the creators and why they started up their children’s ministry. I stumbled onto Phil Vischer’s blog, which is still active today (https://philvischer.com/). On his site, Vischer explains that he actually wanted to create a “Christian Disney” through VeggieTales. As it turned out, God had other plans for Vischer’s set of skills, which led to the changes seen in one of my favorite childhood shows (he expands on his journey in his book, Me, Myself, & Bob).
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any definitive explanation behind why Phil Vischer, Mike Nawrocki, and the rest of the team named their company “Big Idea”, nor did I discover any insights on how “why we do what we do” became their slogan. Ultimately, I was left to fabricate my own reasoning behind their statements: “What’s the big idea?”
And no, I don’t mean this in the condescending Lina Lamont tone.
Genuinely–why do we do the things we do? There must be an overarching reason behind the drive we have to invest in this ministry or get behind that movement. There must be a purpose why he has such a passion for children. Why she has such a burden on her heart for the marginalized. Why they risked everything to rescue victims of sex trafficking.
Really, people. There has to be something deep inside us that knows something is terribly wrong with this world for us to harbor such a desire to make a change.
My mom coined these glimmers of light, these glimpses of good in the world are our “remnants of Eden”. The pure, true, holy nature that resides within our hearts to recognize that things are in fact wrong, and the stirring in our hearts longing for it all to be righted.
As a follower of Christ, my purpose is to share the Gospel of God’s love and sacrifice through His only Son, Jesus with all those I encounter. Sometimes I share it by verbally speaking the words from Scripture as testimony. But often times, I share it by simply being present and showing love to the people around me, and praying for them even when I’m not in front of them. I hope that, through my practice of Jesus’ example in showing the world love and truth, the lives I pass through may experience a portion of God’s great love, grace, and mercy, and be drawn to the freedom and abundant life in Him.
Why do I do what I do?
Why do I love the way that I love?
I love because He first loved me.
May God reveal to you your “Why” in life. That through your availability, He will enable you to change the world through trials, through failure, encouragement and growth, and in bringing more souls to Jesus Christ. May He empower you with purpose, unique from person to person and may He send resources to sharpen you in the work God has called you to do.
Joy and purpose unto you.
And so what we have learned applies to our lives today
And God has a lot to say in His book
You see we know that God’s word is for everyone
And now that our song is done we’ll take a look.
(What We Have Learned – Big Idea)
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.”
2 Thessalonians 1:11, NIV