Top Ten reasons your future is so bright it hurts my eyes to look at it

On Father’s Day:  Why I’m not worried….and you shouldn’t be either

Today is Father’s Day and my not so little girl took me to lunch.  I even had a hot fudge sundae. 

She paid.  I tried to because she’s just back from wandering around Iceland for three weeks on her own dime and I know she’s broke.  But she insisted.

“It’s OK Dad,” she said “I put $50 dollars aside to do this.”

  Geez, how did I wind up with such a great kid?   I deserve very little, if any credit.  Mostly I’ve just watched in awe and tried not to get in the way.

Over the years I’ve routinely told her things like:

“My job is to be sure you have stuff to talk about in therapy.”

and…

“Always remember, not only can you be replaced….but the process is fun.”   Loved her reaction when she was finally old enough to understand that one.  “Dad!!!”  Eye roll.

So maybe I taught her to be resilient and not to take authority too seriously.  I’ll take some credit for that.  We certainly laugh together.

Over lunch we were talking about her college career.  She just completed her freshman year and is considering her major.  Or, in her case, majors.  Maybe Marine Biology and French.  Maybe Psychology and French. Maybe Political Science and French.  Maybe Political Science, Psychology and French for a triple.  Maybe something else entirely.  Her life.  Her call.

There is an astounding amount of pressure tied to this process.  She is surrounded by friends who are stressing out.  Worried about making the “right” choice.  The choice that will get them that all important job.  Their parents are stressing even more.

Rubbish, I say. 

If college is nothing more than a job training program there are better things to do with your time and money. 

Education has value in and of itself.  Or at least it should.   It is a time to expand your mind and your horizons.  To explore, not contract, your options.  You have your whole life ahead to figure out your career, and you’ll likely have five or six different ones before you’re done.  Unless you wind up living a really boring life.  Which, of course, most people do.

Will an education help?  Sure.  But other things will help more.

We had a similar conversation a few weeks back.  After, I sent her this email:

 Subject line:  Why I’m not worried….

…and you shouldn’t be either.

Hi Jess…

I’ve been thinking about our conversation today and specifically why I have such great confidence in you and your future.  So, here are the Top Ten reasons your future is so bright it hurts my eyes to look at it:

  1. Your positive attitude.  Nothing contributes more to success than attitude.
  2. Your people skills.  You have charisma, kindness and a wonderful way with people.  They are drawn to you.  They want you on their team and they want you to lead them. 
  3. Your work ethic and self discipline.
  4. You know how to work.  Many people work hard, fewer work effectively.
  5. You know how to learn.
  6. You know how to think.
  7. You know how to prioritize. 
  8. You are intellectually curious and have a love of learning.
  9. You are a reader.  People who know how to read can learn anything anytime.
  10. You know how to play and how to engage the world and the adventure of life.    

Plan and dream your future, but spend not a single moment worrying about it.  Few things are a greater waste than worry. 

Focus on the Now.  Live each day for itself.  Most of all, enjoy the journey.

Love,

Dad

Not bad, I think.  Every now and again maybe I do OK.  

Happy Father’s Day!

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10 Comments

  1. Jess
    Posted June 19, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    don’t worry dad….i have plenty to talk about in therapy. but thats why i’m stressing so much about college – so i can get a good job to pay for all the therapy sessions :)

    but yea, i’m not worried. we talked about this earlier today, but i like college just for the sake of taking classes that interest me, even if i never pursue that subject as a major. unfortunately people do only look at college as training for a future job and, as we have discussed before, that really is too bad. its such a waste.

    i just keep trying to remind myself that college is too much fun to waste it worrying about stuff.

    i love you dad and i hope you had a good father’s day/ anniversary. :):)

    oh and p.s. – now i really am broke :) lol

    • Posted June 19, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

      Ha! and I thought you didn’t read this blog. looks like I’ll have to be more careful what I write.

      You made it a wonderful Father’s Day for me and there is no better way to go broke than spending your money on Dad. Love you!

  2. Rich Makruski
    Posted June 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    One of my biggest fears when I was starting my family, and after three boys, my biggest regret was not having a girl. What a great lady you got there!
    Rich

  3. Posted June 20, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    If your daughter has mastered your list of 10 items, she definitely has nothing to worry about. It’s a great list. Enjoyed the excellent post. Happy (belated) Father’s Day. -Bill

  4. Posted July 9, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Awesome!!!

  5. Posted December 31, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Great post once again. Really inspirational. And I agree if you have those 10 elements you can not fail in life.

  6. Posted April 8, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I must tweet this! :)
    This brought a smile to my day.

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted April 9, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Glad to hear it, SFL….

      please let me know when you tweet it!

      Thanks!

  7. Rebecca
    Posted November 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I really love this post. Clearly you are a great dad. I remember my dad sitting me down once in third or fourth grade when I was on the verge of getting my first B on a report card and feeling bad about it, and he told me it wasn’t a big deal and the thing was to learn for learning’s sake, not for a grade. It stuck with me. Hope I will do so well when I have kids.

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted November 15, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Rebecca….

      ….I’m glad it struck a cord.

      Sounds like you had a pretty great dad yourself. Good training for doing well by your own kids when the time comes. I’m sure you will!

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