Updated: Apr 3, 2022
Last year during our son’s junior year, he told my wife and I that he didn’t want to spend another four years in a classroom. That he wasn’t going to college.
A part of me was uneasy when he shared this. I want life to be predictable and linear for him. But that feeling was more about me than his manifested authenticity y ganas.
You see, I dropped out of college my junior year. Didn’t know what I was going to do with an English major or what my passion was. So, I moved out of my apartment and headed down to work on my uncle’s farm in Mexico. I came back four years later with more authenticity y ganas running through my veins.
Life has a way of evening out if you hold steadfast and true. The twists, turns and loops I choose made me the person I am today. I’m proud and happy where I stand.
The uneasiness was minimal compared to my awe and pride. We listened, understood and supported his decision.
Since a child, he had good hands and an active spirit. He was a doer.
He was also embodying what I messaged throughout his life, “If there’s one thing I want for you, mijo, is to think for yourself and believe in yourself.”
He’s, indeed, taken this message to heart.
Heck, last spring at the age of seventeen, he obtained his pilot license.
By fall, he passed tests to become a flight instructor.
Before winter, he flew himself and a classmate to Purdue University to check out the campus.
He landed at the campus airport. Participated in the tour.
Then, flew back with his buddy even more steadfast on his path.
This coming June two days after high school graduation, he’s going to a two-week airplane mechanic certification class in Kansas City. His flight school employer, where he began working last summer, is paying for the certification and expenses.
He’s happy. Doing what motivates him. Doing what his well-worn bracelet reads “Follow your Passion”. What more can we ask for and want for him.
After he turns eighteen this March before graduating from high school, he’ll be instructing aspiring pilots on the ground and in the air.
Imagine if we pushed a linear path on him. And out of love for us, out of guilt to not disappoint us, he did go to college. Just as important, imagine my hypocrisy after all these years of messaging to think for yourself and to believe in yourself.
He would probably discard that well-worn bracelet on his bedroom dresser before leaving to the college of “our” choice. The predictable path in motion set in pattern: a college diploma, a mountain of debt and the lessons learned of not pursuing a passion or not thinking for yourself.
Hermanas y hermanos, teach your children to embrace the timeless truth to “follow your dreams”.
Message optimismo, faith, the gift of choice, empowerment and self-love as their compass.
That is why our parents came to this country. Why we persevere in their honor. How we want our hijas e hijos to live.