Tuesday night, Cal, Haley, her boyfriend, Logan, and I were lucky enough to score tickets to Eric Church’s sold out concert at the historic Tivoli Theatre in Chattanooga. Thanks to the generosity of a close friend, we had the opportunity to be a part of a show while they were filming a live concert for Church. The atmosphere in this intimate venue was electric. It was one spectacular show. You could feel Church’s passion. Playing guitar, interacting with a crowd that loved him, he was in his element for sure.
Now, you may be wondering how I could possibly segue way what reads like a concert review into an article relating to teens and working. Here goes.
When teens begin thinking about their careers, what motivates them? Passion or money? I think society clearly sends a message that money does. What pays the most? I’ve heard so many kids blow off teaching or law enforcement because “they don’t make enough money”.
Shouldn’t we, as parents, be sending a different message? How many of us regret following the almighty dollar? Ultimately, aren’t most people happier when they love what they do as opposed to dreading every single day they go to work, even though they may be making a killing? Eric Church loves what he does.
I can imagine some are saying, “Eric Church is doing what he loves AND he’s making a killing.”
True and that leads me to my second point. Eric Church is not an overnight sensation. He’s spent half his life, likely more, working toward his goal of being a successful singer/songwriter. His senior year in high school he started playing in a band, he continued playing through college, earned a degree in Marketing, and then risked it all heading to Nashville instead of pursuing a corporate career. He was driven by passion, and paid his dues through hard work, and persistence. He stayed true to himself, and eventually, reached the pinnacle.
First, follow your dream, and if you find financial success as a result of hard work and maintaining your integrity, then that’s great. No one is saying earning a good living is bad thing.
We encourage our kids to follow their dreams, to relentlessly pursue their passion instead of chasing a dollar. My biggest fear is that we’re not keeping them grounded in reality. Cal aspires to go to a military academy and the thought of a military career scares me to death, but it’s his dream. And, Haley, like Church, wants to make a living as a musician and songwriter one day. She writes, plays guitar, and sings. We support her dream but also try to instill in her that she has do the work. She’ll have to take the risks and learn to deal with all the rejection that pervades that business and lifestyle. We’re also insisting, like Church, that she have a fallback plan, something else that she’s passionate about. Hers is becoming a second grade teacher.
Who knows, in 18 years Haley may be rich and famous like Eric Church, or she may be making a pittance shaping the lives of 7 year olds. Either way, she’ll be successful, and happy.