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Friday, May 8, 2015

Tightrope

The role our parents have in shaping each of us vocationally is undeniable. But the older I get, the degree to which I was shaped gets muddier.

I picture a line ranging from parents on one end who try to replicate themselves vocationally to those on the other end who are totally hands-off, i.e. apathetic about where their offspring will land vocationally. Where on that continuum did my parents fall? Where do yours?

I do know that my parents - children of the Great Depression - placed a high premium on security and stability. More than once during the years when performing music was my main income source, my Dad told me I needed to "...think about a pension..." Both my parents were wonderfully supportive about my music; they would often come to see me play. Still, there was another - sometimes conflicting - message that often leaked through their smiles; be safe and avoid risk.

Where is the middle of that line I spoke of above? How close did my parents get to it? How close did yours? How can parents know when they've struck an appropriate balance between helping children capitalize on their aptitudes vs. directing their children toward a vocational box that could later become stifling and/or hard to escape? At sixty five, answering these questions for myself from a vocational perspective is a fool's errand. But my reflections and quest for a balance will continue for as long as I'm a parent.

2 comments:

  1. A reflection from the bell curve, indeed. Or rather, reflections from multiple bell curves. There is no singular dimension that captures the way we are shaped by our parents. Of course, things would appear muddier as you get older. The older you get, and the more you reflect, the more you become aware of the multidimensional nature of parenting. Luck, or should I say stochastic events, also influence our trajectory, as do many other random variables in the environment. We might sing the round, "Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream; merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream."

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    1. Anonymous; Thanks for the insightful comment and for teaching me a word - "stochastic" - nice.

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