Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dear sons: Find your passion and follow it

Letter #13

Dear sons:

Everybody has a talent. A gift. Something that they can do well. One thing I try to do as a mother is pay attention to what those things are for each of you because I know you're all different. One of you likes music and theatre, another likes to draw, another is fascinated with science.

I have always tried to expose you to a variety of experiences so you can get a taste of different things and find something you really enjoy - something that you're passionate about. Sometimes it means you have to drudge through a lot of things you may not enjoy to find what you do.

I've urged you to try new things and have gone through numerous extracurriculars in the classes, music classes, karate, basketball, baseball, soccer, bowling, choir, band, etc. Not everything is for everyone.

When I find something you're good at, I encourage you to do it. Sometimes I don't push as hard as maybe I should. Like when one of you (you know who you are) got all excited about being in the school talent show. You practiced singing your song along with dance moves. Then when we went to rehearsals, you froze. You weren't comfortable doing it in front of lots of other kids and you quit. I regret not pushing you a little more. I know you would have enjoyed it and I know you would have felt a tremendous accomplishment in overcoming that fear.

Everyone enjoys different things. I want you to all find something you're passionate about and work hard at it. Many times when you find something enjoyable, it doesn't even feel like work.

Some kids know from a young age what they want to do. I knew I wanted to be a writer as soon as I could write. But there were other things I thought I'd enjoy -- and they weren't the typical ones that would net you a successful career and big paycheck, like a lawyer or a doctor. I liked people. For a long time I wanted to be a cashier or waitress or a secretary. It seemed fun to me. Not very lofty goals, I suppose. I did spend over a dozen years as a secretary. I wasn't earning a lot of money, but I made a decent salary and had good benefits and it was a job I really liked. I worked with people and worked on the computer and enjoyed what I did. Some days it felt like work and others it didn't.

I want you to reach for the stars - to believe anything is possible and that you can be want you want to be, but I want you to know I also want you to follow your passion and you won't let me down if you do. I won't be disappointed if you want to be an auto mechanic instead of an architect or a chef rather than a cardiologist. When you grow up, you'll have to work in some capacity. If it's doing something you don't want to do, it can envelop you in unhappiness. Find what you love to do. Find your passion. Follow it. That's what will make me proud.

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