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.”
“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.
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:
- Your positive attitude. Nothing contributes more to success than attitude.
- 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.
- Your work ethic and self discipline.
- You know how to work. Many people work hard, fewer work effectively.
- You know how to learn.
- You know how to think.
- You know how to prioritize.
- You are intellectually curious and have a love of learning.
- You are a reader. People who know how to read can learn anything anytime.
- 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.
Not bad, I think. Every now and again maybe I do OK.
Happy Father’s Day!