We all come across these people, people whose intentions are the best, but the words expelling from their mouths are… although well-meant… don’t always leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling. I am certain I fill this role often (my apologies). A case in point:
I’m sitting at a bridal shower. The bride was a friend of my daughter. My daughter had to excuse herself and leave the shower early to be at work. After she departed, the bride’s mom assumed I was uncomfortable sitting alone (This is usually not the case. I actually enjoy not making small talk with strangers. I’m an observer. Please leave me to my assumed loneliness.) and insisted I join her at her table. After a short protest, I didn’t want to offend her so I obliged. At the table were two other women. Cackling women, I might add.
The cacklers spent the next thirty minutes picking a part the location of the wedding. The bridesmaid dresses, etc. They pretended to reassure the bride’s mom it was all fine as they cackled on.
At one point, one of these women asked what my daughter does for a living. “She works at a restaurant.” “Oooh;” one of the women exaggerated. My WTF meter pinged loudly. What does this woman mean; “Oooh?”
My friend, with well intended meaning intervenes and says; “She is on track to be district manager.” WTF meter pings loudly again. I guess being on track to be a district manager of a large chain is socially acceptable but being a waitress, cook, bartender, host, or any other restaurant position is socially unacceptable. (Help! I’m trapped. Save me! Somebody. Anybody. Please! Please!! Please!!!)
The need to exalt my daughter’s career path irked me. I find no shame in one being happy and successful in the vocation of their choosing. Honestly, I felt sorry for my friend. Playing nice with these cacklers on a regular basis must be exhausting. What a distorted reality.
Another case in point: My son is a 4.0 student. He has exceptional ACT scores. He has already cleped out of some college courses. My mail and e-mail are flooded with college recruiting materials. The problem is my son wants to be an automotive mechanic. A what????
Even his Dad, well intended as he might be, has uttered those spine-shivering words; “He is too smart for that.” Oh em gee! Too smart for what? Too smart to follow his heart? Too smart to enjoy his vocation? Too smart to work with his hands? There is no shame in any of those things.
My son, however, also wants to play college baseball. See his dilemma? You really don’t need a college education to be an automotive mechanic. In Oklahoma those course are provided by vocational schools (Vo-Tech). But, if he goes to college to play baseball, he gives up his preferred vocation. It’s a helluva dilemma. I’m certain his heart is often torn in two. The world, however, wants to push him toward college because that’s what is EXPECTED.
There is this insane presumption that because I am an attorney my kids are meant go to college and be… what…? I guess we’re all just cyborgs now. Emotionless beings, walking through life, just doing what is expected. Where does this crap come from? Society, television, competitive assholes you had to deal with in high school, those frienemies you won’t let go of, the need for comparison, social media, that’s who.
I’m certain you or your kids have encountered similar situations. Can you recall a situation where you told someone about your dream and in response you heard something along the lines of: “You don’t want to do that.” “That’s such a waste of time and money.” “You’ll never make a living doing that.” “There’s no future in that.” “You’re too smart for that.” Good grief!
Much of what this world teaches us about life, career, and success is fundamentally WRONG. Backwards! Success is measured in terms of money by the world, but then one day you wake up and your humanity screams; “Wouldn’t it be great if it were actually measured in terms of happiness?”
For the record, you do NOT have to go to college to be successful or happy. You do not have to go into large amounts of debt to provide an education for your children. Put your checkbook down. Walk away slowly. Free yourself from the propaganda. It’s a farce.
It’s perfectly okay to brag about your children and their accomplishments. As a parent, I fully expect you to do exactly that. But, I find it concerning when someone feels a need to “explain” or “apologize” or feels “shame” about the chosen life path of themselves or their children (barring crime and chemical dependency) just for the sake of appearances.
Wouldn’t it be great if we would actually teach our kids to say; “Please don’t tell me who I am or who I should be, but yet, give me space to discover who I am and all I can be.”
I’d be remiss if I didn’t add this, on behalf of all the “grease monkeys” everywhere, may I just add one final word; “FU!”
Slay the day your way.