(A message for teens and young adult children)
I’m your mother, your aunty, your teacher, your friend.
I wish nothing but the best for you.
When have I done anything but try to elevate you?
And yet your resist – my advice, my contacts, my experience, my help
(but rarely, if ever, my money).
Believe it or not, I know more than you think I do.
Believe it or not, I can make connections for you.
I know people and know how to get to people that you can’t even imagine.
And why shouldn’t I? You deserve a boost, a little extra assistance, now and again.
Why do you resist?
What we resist, persists.
So persist, I will,
Because I love you, I want the best for you. But you have to do your part. You have to make an effort.
Why is filling out an application so difficult to you?
Why is making a follow-up call a chore that you avoid?
Why are you so afraid of hearing the word No that you also prevent hearing the word Yes?
I don’t understand this fear, especially when you’ve heard a bunch of yes-ses, because of the labor and sacrifice of a lot of people who came before you. They paved the way so that your path would be easier…less daunting and yet you find it difficult to push through the unlocked door (it may be closed but it is no longer locked).
These thoughts came to me as a friend shared that her nephew didn’t follow up on a lead to get into a summer program where he would have made a substantial amount of money and significant connections this summer – his first working after his freshman year in college. Instead, he’s at the GAP making $10 per hour and some of his classmates, who did follow up on the program, are making $10,000 this summer. He told his aunt that “they must have known somebody.” Well, guess what, he knew somebody. His aunt had the hook-up. She knew somebody in the program who would have made sure his application was reviewed. It wasn’t like she was referring him to something for which he wasn’t qualified. Experience is not always the best teacher, only the most painful. He feels that there’ll always be next summer. To that I can only respond – bird in hand, worth two in bush. All any of us has is the present. Programs can (and have) disappeared in a year’s time – or are severely cut back. Carpe diem – seize the day.
I remember having to cajole, push, and threaten my children into filling out applications so they could have certain experiences (most often in their areas of interest), that taught them useful skills, brought them friends and fond memories, and connected them with people who turned out to be important and useful to them.
To teens and young adults every where, I suggest that you know who your champions and cheerleaders are. They are usually the people who have boosted you, nurtured you, looked out for you from day one, i.e. your parents, your family (birth or found). Listen to us – why don’t you? We often know what we’re talking ’bout. You can build on our foundation and go further down the road to achieving your dreams/goals rather than having to break a new path or travel backwards.