As a young novelist, Susan Straight was told by her mentor, the great James Baldwin, “You must continue to write. It is imperative.” Imagine how different that was than the example she got from her own mother, who as we explained, believed her own creative life was over the day she had kids.
The question we have to ask ourselves is: Which path are we choosing? Are we telling them that they must continue to fulfill their potential—that it’s imperative? Or through our actions (or inactions) are we telling them the opposite? Have we unknowingly become dream killers or are we actively becoming dream builders?
That’s the question. And it is definitely imperative.
Because there is no benefit to quitting on oneself. Sure, someone might have to face facts and choose one career path over another, but that’s not the same as stopping. Making money from the thing you love to do is not as important as getting better at it, as maximizing your potential.
As parents, it is imperative that we root for them, that we’re fans. We have to encourage them. We have to tell them to keep going. That there are more, better things ahead. The world is going to put up enough stop signs, erect enough obstacles, deliver enough heartbreak. We don’t need to add to it. We need to do the opposite. We need to believe in them.