|Totally OK with whatever path these guys choose,|
even if they want to be birds.
When you grow up in a rich town but you can't afford a bicycle, you kind of feel poor.
When it was time for my friends and I to graduate high school, I felt the difference between the haves and have-nots once again. This time, however, I was grateful. It was time to choose colleges and programs of study, and surprisingly time for some parents to exert control, as evidenced through the words of my friends, which sounded a lot like this:
"I want to be a rock star, but my parents and I compromised on sound editing."
"I can't major in theater because that is impractical, so I am going to major in hotel restaurant management."
"I know I would be a great teacher, but my parents said if I go into teaching, I have to attend a state school and not the one I really want. So, I am going to med school."
And there were many, many more disappointed friends and almost twice as many nervous parents.
This concept was foreign. "How can it be up to your parents?" I mind-screamed to myself (and at them, but they apparently didn’t hear my mind-scream). But there was an answer: the parents get to decide because they are paying. This can occur over and over with weddings and even places to live. Parents pay so they get to choose.
I paid my own way through college, and everything else for that matter - so the only thing I ever did was exactly what I wanted to do. Thank god.
With moderate poverty comes moderate freedom. Or maybe with fierce independence comes fierce freedom.
I was so thrilled because I could not wrap my head around the parental viewpoint in this scenario. Sooooo.... your kid has passion about something and you think they should not? Your kid has a talent and you are working hard to convince them to NOT exploit it? Your kid shares their big dream with you and outlines a path to pursue it, and you come back with "What about a plan B?"?!?!?!?!?!?!
Are you kidding me, head-up-your-ass-parents?
Do you know how many people live their whole lives and are never passionate about anything? Do you know how much amazingness has been tamped down by parents saying things like "Of course I believe in you, I want you to be an astronaut, I just ALSO want you to be an accountant. Just in case."
At least be honest and say it: "I believe in you…. but not really."
I get it. We love our kids. We want to make sure they’ll be able to support themselves. I want that too, but I want nothing more than for my kids to be happy in whatever life they choose. I don't know what that path will look like - but I do know this: I cannot choose it for them.
I want my kids to reach for every brass ring, pursue every far-off fantasy, and just be in a world where whatever place they have in it, I honor them.
And so I deliberately choose to honor them in their own Plan A awesomeness.
Currently, my 5-year-old wants to be a "fashion girl" and my 4-year-old wants to be a drummer/superhero.
Go for it, littles! No safety net, no Plan B. Just go for it and be a drummer/superhero/fashion person/thing. Throw yourself into it with your whole heart and know that your mom could not be more proud.
[Editor’s Note: Dad is proud too, and currently working on ways to augment the drum set so it’s better suited to fight crime…]