It all started with the computer Winnie-the-Pooh hide and seek game. Just because my boy said he wanted to be a video game designer when he was 12 because he was obsessed with Ocarina of Time, Tony Hawk skateboard games and Mario Brothers games didn’t mean he meant it literally. He might just as well have told me he wanted to be a Pokeman.
But I indulged these ideas for the sake of freedom of thought. Why shouldn’t he get to dream of whatever he wanted as a 12-year old? Who am I to squelch his dreams even though I thought them quite ludicrous in the literal sense. How do you even get to be a video game designer, and isn’t that a job for hippie-types.
So then he got older and joined a garage band, and an even more legitimate band that toured around a bit. He got the bug for the world of performance and decided he wanted to go to college for music technology. He made it in and headed off on a path we still weren’t sure was a good one. It cost a mint and had little promise of a job at the other end.
But in the name of mature adult/parental decision making, we insisted he have a minor in computer science. If we are paying, then we are demanding an exceedingly practical minor. The surprise was that he loved his minor and added it as a second major. Then he got an internship for this second major at a tiny computer start-up company, turning down the more practical sounding one for his first major at Radio City Music Hall, but by then he was the one better suited to make the decisions since he was on the front lines, not us, and it was his life anyway. Ironically he keeps getting raises at the start-up company, spends all his free time writing computer code, and seems to be headed for a career with computers.
Funny too, after all this letting-him-go-where-he-will and watching for ways to support his self-direction, he is telling us now that he is having so much fun writing an iPod app along with a friend, an angry-birds type game, that it is looking more and more like we have helped him find his way to becoming a legitimate and literal video game designer, seriously. It is his latest dream job, again, only this time he might have some actual training and experience to inform his decision.
Watching kids become who they are is fascinating. I see my role as one of noting his interests even as they change and then supporting those in whatever way I can, with the idea that they in themselves are not necessarily literally who he will become, but just stepping stones on the way to wherever it all leads.
Ahhh….from here on in I will just stand back and watch, and try not to take it all too literally.