My oldest son recently graduated from high school (See previous blog:”What Lies Ahead For This Female Pilot?”). He doesn?t fully know what this really means. Kids live in a bubble for the first 18 years of their lives. School has been his routine for most of his life. People have been telling him what to do: when school starts, when it ends, what to wear, what to study, etc., etc. Now, he has choices. Many choices. I?m not sure any child really understands how life changes after high school, until they live it. My son, Jack, has been chomping at the bit for freedom for a long time. Now he has it and he?s not sure what to do with it! I?ll admit, this is pretty entertaining to witness.

Perm & braces, at the same time!

When it was time for me to choose a path after high school, it was confusing. My school choices were based on either where my friends were going or what location seemed the most exciting. There were a few different schools I actually “tried” out…My major changed at least three times.

Two Schools of Thought
It seems there are usually two schools of thought on career path choices usually offered to young adults.

Number 1: Find something safe and secure.
Number 2: Follow your dream.

Growing up, my family preached option 1. I?ve always been a dreamer, but finding security was consistently recommended. There was no malicious intent on their part. They just didn?t want me living in their basement indefinitely. Frankly, now that there are teenagers with attitude living in my home, it makes perfect sense. How my mother kept from actually burying me in our basement is a mystery. For years, being a professional musician was what I aspired to do (along with 5 million other Nashvillian?s). There have been a few opportunities for me to perform and each time has been memorable. Being a professional pilot seemed even more far-fetched than being a musical artist! Isn?t that nuts?!?!

My parental guidance philosophy is different. Option 2 is my approach. All of my children are males. Therefore, it?s relatively self-evident that they will be working to either support themselves or their families for a large amount of their lives. My hope is they pursue something they truly enjoy because they will likely be doing it a long time.

While raising these boys, it?s been my goal to help them find what they?re good at, what excites them, and to be their biggest cheerleader. Sometimes their interests have been non-traditional and challenging.

Counseling Advice For My Boys:
Anything is possible (even living without a cell phone)!
Don?t settle (for dirty clothes on the floor)!
The most rewarding and worthwhile things are challenging (yes, this includes brushing your teeth EVERY night).

It?s taken me over 20 years to finally go after something I?ve wanted for a long time. Once a dreamer, always a dreamer!! My boys see me studying and are now cheering for me .

It?s Never Too Late.
My hope is that young high school graduates (especially my Jack) have the courage to pursue what they love. If it takes them 20+ years, that?s still an achievement. Don?t let the daily routine of life kill your spirit. If you?re alive, and reading this, there?s still time.