Each new year provides new opportunities and adventures. As a parent, not only do you plan and prepare for yourself, you also want your children to achieve their dreams and goals.
For 2011, my wish for my kids is that they sincerely follow their passions. They each possess special gifts, unique characteristics, and I truly hope they embrace them. Most importantly, I hope they are courageous when new circumstances arise; that they are not afraid to make fools out of themselves based on what others think.
I know that following a dream isn’t always easy or popular, even in your own household. Daniel, my 8 year old, is obsessed with “Star Wars,” which is decidedly unpopular with my older kids. They think that Daniel’s encyclopedia-like knowledge of the planet Hoth or which starfighter has lasers is just not “cool.” However, I am encouraging Daniel not to squelch his love for all things “Star Wars” only because someone else doesn’t share his admiration; it’s what makes him unique.
I encourage Ryan, my older son, to continue to play baseball. He’s had some obstacles to overcome while pursuing this sport and there was a time that I thought he would never play again. However, I know how much it means to him and now that he has made it to the collegiate level, I can see how it has paid off for him. He’s learned how to be part of a team, how to lose gracefully, how to WIN gracefully, and the importance of discipline. How could I not foster his devotion to the game?
My step-daughter, Kayla, is a Renaissance woman–she can do anything. She made the boys’ football team, but decided to play girls’ soccer instead. She is currently in her junior year of high school and is working on her cosmetology certificate. Her plan is to do something she enjoys and work while she’s in college. I am all for that!
And, Shannon. She just completed a modeling class and had her first set of photographs taken. Whether or not modeling turns out to be her passion remains to be seen. At the very least, I tell her, she will gain poise, grace, and self-confidence. Plus, she tried it!
Regardless of what they choose to do with their lives, I will support them. I also let them know that sometimes finding your true passion takes patience and trial and error, but that once they find it, they will know. It’s what makes them happiest when no one else is around; something that makes them proud of themselves and that they would do even if there were no benefits other than sheer satisfaction.
For instance, when I was just five years old, I wanted to be Barbra Streisand. I thought I could sing; I thought I could dance; I thought “Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long” was written for me to perform. As I got older, the realization that I did not have Barbra’s pipes finally set in.
As high school arrived, my goal was to write for a newspaper. I was co-editor of my school newspaper and I received scholarship. I was prepared to head off to college for my journalism degree and then I made some choices that took my life in an entirely different direction.
After I got married, I discovered that my love of Steve Martin’s comedy routines (and my amateur re-enactments of them) gave me the confidence I needed to write my own comedy routines, which I performed for friends and at “Open Mic” nights. It was risky; it was embarrassing, but I tried it!
When I realized that my life didn’t lend itself well to late night comedy clubs, I stumbled upon a new, exciting venture: radio disc jockey. A local station had try outs for an on-air DJ spot and I tried out. While I made the top ten contestants, I didn’t get selected, but I put myself out there, once again.
Which brings me to the present: blogging. I’ll never be rich and famous being a blogger, but I can truly say that I have found my passion. I hope my kids can look upon my life and see that it’s not about the money or the accolades; it is about fulfillment. It doesn’t always come easily, and some times it’s not even something you would expect, but once you’ve found it, you’ll know. I wish them nothing but fulfilling ventures in 2011.