You Can Do Anything You Put Your Mind ToPosted: February 17, 2012
When parents say to their children “you can do anything, be anything you put your mind to” I know they mean it. My parents meant it because they saw my potential. I said the same thing to my son, and it was from the heart. Today, tomorrow and next week, people all over the world will believe those words as they say them to their chubby cheeked five-year old.
Anything implies a lot. But there’s only one President, only a few hundred people who play major league baseball and scores of folks who keep the world spinning without being noticed. For a while, I had the idea that I could pull off being a neurosurgeon/third baseman. In the end, I’m happy with being a police officer/hostage negotiator/wannabe writer.
My Son’s Missing Piece
Some of us hear our parents’ encouraging words and automatically add in “within reason”. Others don’t know there is a within reason clause. I am realizing that my son lacks the within reason clause. He has a history of making decisions, then bringing them to life.
When he was little, he came home one day ticked off that someone else was student of the week. We talked, he made a decision, and the next week he brought home a certificate. When I thought about it later, I laughed and thought about the coincidence of it happening the week after our conversation.
Or was it a coincidence?
My son played baseball. He liked pitching, and he wasn’t bad for nine years old. Besides, if I’m going to volunteer to coach, my kid gets to pitch sometimes.
One game, he hit two batters in a row. He plunked one in the leg, the other in the back. The umpire looked over at me to see if I was going to put in a new pitcher.
I walked out to the pitcher’s mound. It didn’t seem to occur to the kid that I was there to tell him he’d pitched well but it was time to give someone else a shot. He just knew there were two outs and he needed just one more. He struck the next guy out. Before he did, he told me he would.
He Won’t Stop
When middle school came, music became the boy’s thing.
We ended up back at his middle school in his senior year of high school. He was there with a few others to recruit for the band at the big school. He pointed out a plaque with the names of the kids who’d won an award named for jazz musician Woody Herman. He told me he’d gotten himself tossed in time out in 6th grade and did his time in a chair under that plaque. Since he had time to think as he sat there, he thought it would be cool to win that award.
I remember him getting the award at his last middle school concert. Until he told me that story I didn’t know why he was laughing when he shook the director’s hand.
On a vacation trip, at least five years ago, we crossed paths with a young man who was completing his college internship doing environmental work at the beach. Later that evening, my son announced that he thought he would get a similar gig for his internship when he got to college. I thought about tempering his expectations. After all, how many people fall into an internship at the beach they’ve been going to since they were in first grade?
High school came and he continued his ways. He stayed with his music. He added a second instrument. His grades came up. We shopped for colleges. My son applied to one. One college. He’s in his second year at that one college. He just got an internship. Yes, that internship.
I meant it when I told him that he could do anything. I worried when I said it because I didn’t have anything to back it up but love.
Anything he puts his mind to. Take it to the bank.