Moral Support: A Slippery Slope
Moral support is a slippery slope, and while I would agree that everyone needs moral support, I do not agree that it is necessary for success. At my age, I cannot count on the encouragement, or financial support of my parents. They are both deceased. However, living with them for a large part of my life, I know what they would say about going to college. My mother thought college was a total waste of time and never missed an opportunity to point out that college graduates were people who could not make it in the real world. She went on for hours extolling the virtues of sewing, cooking, child-rearing and knitting–all of which college graduates apparently do not know how to do. My father stated many times that college was in place to train doctors, lawyers, and teachers. Everyone else was better served learning from actually doing, and that hands on experience is not provided for in college. After all, he was a mechanic who learned his skills on the job, and he made a decent living for his family. I am the second oldest in a family of six children. I was the first to graduate high school, in fact, myself and my youngest sister were the only children in our family that finished high school. My parents were not bad people, but thought they were just being practical when it came to expectations for their children. Being raised in this atmosphere, where I dreamed of going to college, and they dreamed of marrying me off to the first guy who had a job, I realized that I did not need their approval to achieve my goals.
Family and friends do not have the right to destroy your dreams, even under the guise of love. Just the fact that these are the people closest to you, do not give them the right to diminish or discourage you from being who you are. Loved ones should voice their concerns and even point out pitfalls in your plans, but never insinuate insanity is the cause for your lofty life goals. Rachel wants to be a rockstar, but the music business is one of the most difficult to succeed in. I tell her the drawbacks, the hurdles to breaking into an area like this, and together we work to find ways around them. We attend music events, talk to musicians who are doing what she wants to do, we ask millions of questions, and spend hours researching the business. She takes guitar lessons, teaches guitar, plays guitar with anyone who will sit down with her. No matter what I think, if she wants to be a rockstar, she can be a rockstar. But she cannot do it alone. She needs my encouragement, my ideas, and most of all: my moral support. Rachel will not have to wait until she is a senior citizen to realize her dreams.
Moral support can manifest itself in many different forms. It does not have to be found only in close friends and family. It can be as simple as a positive comment on a paper you wrote for school, or as complex as a stranger who openly admires a Spiderman quilt you made for your grandson. However, the best moral support I have discovered, is in myself. The pride I feel after accomplishing a task that I thought I could not do is the most positive reinforcement I have found. It makes me want to do more, or do it better. It gives me confidence that I can do anything. And sometimes, it just gives me the strength to go on to the next day, or the next challenge life has for me.
And I am going to need that moral support, because school starts next month! Yeah!