Writer’s Name: JC Gardner
Title: You’ve Lived Your Life, Let them Live Theirs
I just knew my son was going to be in the NBA or NFL. Born twenty-one inches long and a little over eight pounds, he seemed like he was going to be sure ‘nuff sports material.
As he grew into a toddler, his pediatrician pointed out that his size was off the chart. He even went so far as to say he would be between six-six and six-nine. My husband and I thought we would take advantage of that prediction and put our energies into helping our son be the best that he could be. At the time of his birth, I worked for a law firm. One of the attorneys, amazed at my son’s height and stockiness, said he would represent my son at his first contract signing. My son was just two years old.
Let’s see, we put our son in baseball, football, basketball, soccer, wrestling and dance. He had drum lessons and was part of the church choir. Then there was computer camp and swimming. He went through the motions with all of these, but none of them were his niche.
By the time he was a sophomore in high school, we were still pushing the sports issue. It baffled us that at six- foot-four, and still growing, he could care less about basketball or football. Yes, he participated briefly on the high school level, but he had no inherent passion for the game, no natural skill. We thought we could motivate him into sports greatness, but it was not meant to be.
College was another adventure! Once again, we enrolled him into college, helping him to decide his path. He is good at computers, but he did not desire a computer career. He is great at math, but found that too boring; he likes dabbling in story writing, but on his own terms. We soon learned the hard way, after a few attempts, he was not college material. Instead, he took up a trade in pharmaceuticals and is making a very decent living with room to grow.
You might be saying to yourself, well what does he like to do? My son loves music. He loves staying up into the wee hours of the night making his own beats. That’s his passion! And I have to say his beats are awesome! If he could make a profitable living at it, that is what he would do 24/7. He loves the Asian culture and speaks basic Japanese. He’s never been in any trouble with the law or otherwise, and we know where he is at all times. He’s a homebody, preferring to stay under his parents’ domain while occasionally hanging out with nearby friends.
I’m sharing this because each of us has our own path to follow. I believe as parents, we feel compelled to plan, plot and design our children’s footsteps. We can be overbearing and tend to force them to follow our vision for their lives and then when they go a different way, we get upset, or in my case, wondering where we went wrong.
My six- foot-seven son walks to the beat of a different drum, and I have learned to appreciate that. Sure, there were some ups and downs, but as I reflect on the man he has become, we did a damned good job. The basic life lessons we instilled in him are evident today and that is so important. The building blocks of self esteem, respect, faith and love, just to name a few, created a strong foundation so that no matter what he decided to pursue, these attributes would always be with him and would allow him to land on solid ground. Proverbs 22:6 says. Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (KJV). Give your children a strong foundation and be there to nurture and guide their decisions, keeping in mind you’ve lived your life. Let them live theirs.