Sunday, June 26, 2016

Aim Low

This post may come out all wrong but it’s something I’ve been turning over in my head for a few days. Months I guess. It goes like this:
For my son, I want to aim low.

That’s right. Low.

There’s so much pressure these days. College talk. Scholarships. Savings plans. Big hopes and dreams for the snowflake.  And that's fine, saving is good, right? Moms and Dads are dreaming big these days. Going to be an awful lot of doctors and lawyers, a surge of professional athletes. 

Obviously a lot of it is said in jest. I hope. You know, kid makes a shot and Dad’s ready for the draft.  But a lot of stuff, it’s there and it's real. It's lurking in the minds and in the hearts of well-meaning parents. And it can be a pressure cooker.

Okay, you say, what are you suggesting? 

Well, I want my kid to succeed…in happiness. 

Hey! Stop rolling your eyes. What I mean is that I want him to do what makes him happy. Sure I want him to dream and fight and try and strive. And right now, at my house, for my kid, happiness consists of taking stuff apart. Popping the hood of my car so that he can study the engine. He likes engines, loves them, and working parts are his thing right now. And if he wants to be an engineer, great, and if he wants to be a mechanic, great too.

Fine by me. He loves to learn about lawn mowers and car engines, even flipping over his toys to see what makes them roll, click, or turn. So yeah, I think for him being a mechanic would be a pretty decent way to make a living.

But when I say it, people think I’m joking.

I’m not.

Trade school sounds like a great plan. College diplomas are becoming increasingly more expensive and well, by the time he’s ready I’m not so sure I want him taking out loans he’ll have to pay for the rest of his life.

And everything is about money. It seems people just go to college to get a job. Okay, I'll say here that yes I’m naive and weird and in the distinct minority because I happen to think that kids should go to college to learn things.

Just to learn things.

I read all the time. Almost anything, because I love it. I’ve read college text books for fun, seriously, and didn’t pay a dime to do it. That said, I know people don’t go to college to learn things. That would be stupid. They go so that they can get a good job.

We need money. But we need time too. We need a healthy balance of time/money/love/ to be happy. To be peaceful. And what’s the point in going into massive debt to go to school to get a good job to get lots of money to pay the debt so that you can work your way into happiness? I think I’m confused.

What if my kid is comfortable? What if he’s a comfortable mechanic who lives a normal, non Earth-shattering life ? What if he does what he loves? 

Also--the kicker here--he could come over and the old man's car when it broke down. Win.

No seriously, this is not about me. What's wrong with comfort? With finding your own groove. Took me half a life to do it and I'm still working to get that groove right. So what do I know? Sure, we can nurture them and provide a stable environment for them to succeed, and if that’s college, great. If not, will figure it out. But in the end, the choice is his to determine.

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