How often do you hear stories of parents wanting their children to follow in their footsteps, in the family firm, on the family farm? When nine times out of ten if they were able to be really honest that’s the last thing they would want to do, but then if they are like me, where I was dominated by the hierarchy of the tribe maybe they felt like I did, that I had to conform to the wisdom of my betters!
In my case this meant that the head of the family was not the weak old man, my Granfer who I loved, the young men had gone off to fight the second great war and those that weren’t killed came back scarred and shattered if not physically then certainly mentally.
I remember the guy who kept the sweet and tobacconist shop. He had been a fighter pilot, got shot down, badly burnt so lost the ends of all his fingers and most of his face leaving only horrendous scars, but insisted on picking up the pennies we paid for our toffees and refused all help!
No. The purpose of this is just to illustrate that I was brought up in a strict matriarchal society where the words of the she wolves were law. At wars end I was five and by fifteen with a bent towards Physics and Art I wanted to become a Naval Constructor, you know, designing ships.
But the Akelae decided I was not original enough and certainly not as a commercial artist and as I struggled with Calculus I could not become an Architect! Having saved my pocket money matched by the Grand Parents I got a racing bike, but when it came to buying a car at 17, I was told ‘No!’ It would be a source of trouble, and certainly not a motorbike as that would be a death trap. I went away to college and bought a Moped!
Well I became an Electrical Engineer and got on quite well with Calculus! I followed that with Chef, then Training Manager and retired as a Health and Safety Manager. The question I have to ask myself is: ‘Am I still searching for my forte?’ …
One word of advice to all parents: Please let your kids try anything and everything they want and let them decide on the job they want to do that they believe is going to make them happy. If it doesn’t turn out the way they wanted, don’t say ‘I told you so? back them up again with whatever they want to try next. You see, it is the trying that counts, it’s the seeking and desiring, and desiring that will draw to them more of the same in their seeking and desiring for happiness.
As Abraham said:
When a child has a dream and a parent says, “It’s not financially feasible; you can’t make a living at that; don’t do it,” we say to the child, run away from home … You must follow your dream. You will never be joyful if you don’t. Your dream may change, but you’ve got to stay after your dreams. You have to.
We would follow this by saying to a child of whatever age eight, eighteen or eighty – follow your dreams! Dreams are not only valid but necessary at every age and necessary to be fulfilled.
With love, David
As usual I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. Your memories brought back some of mine… but there was a great difference between you and I. I always did what I wanted, not exactly, but yes, I pursued dreams until they showed being nightmares.
Quoting our good friend Abraham, I would say that sometimes “It’s not financially feasible” means that parents can not pay the tuition to permit you to pursue your primal dream.
I wanted to become a lawyer and I ended up being a airlines’agent and then later on a travel agent. When I found out the financial difficulties my parents were in, I decided to find a job. I was fifteen, supposedly bright and very well educated, and a notary accepted me to work in his study.
I learned and learned, giving catechism to boys slightly younger than myself in the mornings, and following evening classes of English and German at the same time and in the same State School.
The sixties were golden years for most of us. Firms tried to forget there had been a World War just recently and were interviewing candidates without too much harshness. I was only 19 and my military service behind me, when I was given the opportunity to enter at SABENA, the Belgian Airlines. This was to be the springboard to larger Airlines… as PAN AMERICAN, TWA and last but not least AIR NEW ZEALAND.
Travel had become my career for 40 years and I enjoyed every minute of it. Of course there were good times and less good times but what an experience. It permitted me to see so much of the world, to meet new cultures and realize that I could never be provincial anymore.
It distanced me from my siblings, but that was their choice, not mine.
Dare I add that, although I have had a life many only dream of, I never forgot that I wanted to be a (good) lawyer. I still enjoy reading reports on lawsuits and trials. Living in Spain and having been involuntary confronted with the subtleties of the Spanish Law, I have gained quite an experience in that science.
Thank you, David, for this fine post… and yes, it is of the utmost importance to … follow a dream.