Tuesday 26 March 2013

One of those parenting conundrums

About a month ago, Spielberg took an aptitude test at school that's suppose to help him figure out what sort of career would suit him. His results were mostly not surprising as the majority of them had something to do with the film industry...screenwriter, director, film editor...which thrilled him to no end, because those are the sort of things he'd love to do for a living. As soon as he was old enough to operate his dad's video camera, he started making movies and at 13 he has his own camera, close-to-professional quality editing software and has spent many hour writing scripts, filming them with his friends and editing the results. He even has his own production company...not that it's official or legal, but still, how many 13 year old's would start a production company??

This presents a bit of a parenting conundrum for me. I'm thrilled he's so passionate about something and determined to make a career out of it. My worry is, CAN he make a career out of it? Realistically, the movie industry is a difficult one to break into. It's also an industry that seems to be full of heartbreak and rejection and there are legions of people who work their asses off in a professional community that seems more likely to value who you know and being at the right place at the right time, rather than a strong and dilligent work ethic. Talent counts, but only if someone important happens to recognize it. Movie making can be a chew-you-up-and-spit-you-out career choice...and I prefer my son not spend his adulthood covered in figurative bite-marks.

The thing is, this is Spielberg's dream and I want to encourage him to follow his dreams. He watched his dad stuck in a job he hates for years and it's been a lesson to him...do you sacrifice your dreams and personal happiness to do something you can't stand because it pays well? And then he sees me having a career I love, but where I've sacrificed financial stability at times to have it. Personally, I come down firmly on the side of rather spending my days doing something I love for less money, than doing something I can't stand for lots of money and benefits. As long as my bills are paid, there's food in the fridge and there's enough for occasional treats like a game of golf, a new Lego set for Spielberg and an armful of books from the 2nd hand store for me, colour me happy with my life.

What I want more than anything for Spielberg is for him to be happy. I don't want him toiling away in some job he hates. I want him to do something with his professional life that gives him a huge sense of satisfaction. But I also want him to have stability, not only financially but professionally. I suppose being a director involves  some level of risk and to do that job, you having to be willing to take those risks and accept that there will be a certain amount of failure at times.

I guess the part I have trouble with is encouraging, supporting and cheerleading the hell out of him, while knowing what he dreams of doing requires him to develop a really thick skin and learn how to get smacked down by rejection and to get back up, brush himself off and try again. Love him and his dreams, but dammit, sometimes I wish his dream was to be a dentist or own a dumptruck business.

Do you worry about your kids dreams? Do you encourage? Discourage?

Please visit Honest Mom to see the other Honest Voices linkups


  1. Looking forward to reading more of your posts. My kids are still quite young, but I can identify with this. My preschooler says she wants to be a doctor, ambulance driver, astronaut, soldier mom. :)I love her desire to do everything, but can imagine how it gets tougher to encourage your kid to follow their risky dreams as they get older. Found you on HonestMom's linkup today.

    Meg from www.misadventuremom.com

    1. Welcome and thanks for visiting!

      I worry too that if I discourage him from taking a risk to do something he loves, he'd regret it one day

  2. Heh...I say let him go for it. :) He can always discover something else along the way. We should all have passion for what we do and too many of us don't, trying to play it safe.

    Now that I've butted in with my two cents - hi! I'm here to introduce myself. I'm one of Retro-Zombie's minions for the A to Z Challenge. I'm looking forward to your posts. :)

    Laura Eno

    1. I'd say well over half of my friends have changed careers at least once since high school...and a lot of the ones who switched jobs or went back to school did so because they initially chose the job that was the "safer" alternative opposed to the career they really wanted to have but were too afraid to try

      Nice to meet you! I'm really excited about the A-Z Challenge :)

  3. That is a conundrum. Chasing your dreams is risky, but is financial stability worth the stress of a job you hate? It's something I'm dealing with on a personal level, myself. Still haven't figured it out yet.

    1. My ex hubs spent years in a job he hated and I'm sure it had an impact on our son because his dad was miserable and made no secret of how much he hated his job...the only reason he stayed was because it was his family's business and the financial stability it provided. Looking back, I'd say it just wasn't worth it.

      I'd rather do something I love and make due with less :)

  4. I wrote a post just like this but backwards, my son is 7, I realized, in hindsight that I wanted to be a musician when I grew up. But I was grown, and not a musician. So I had been "encouraging" him to play instruments, listen to lots of music, take music classes...... He doesn't want to be a musician, he wants to build bombs. I guess my point is, I think you should encourage him no matter how hard it is too. I was in his place once, and got steered to the "lucrative" careers, now I do nothing, and am too old to start over. Well not really, I get to write, and that's awesome, but it took me a long time to feel like that was OK. I think the more you support him the better chance he has at actually succeeding. Think of how many "greats" thank their moms!
    following from honest voices :-)