Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oh, Brother

Brother is officially no longer enlisting in the Marines. He just came home one day and his mind had changed. He told me he realized he wasn't doing it because it was what he wanted; he was allowing himself to be influenced by someone else. I was glad that he realized that and understood that he needs and deserves to make decisions about his future himself. So, what does he want to do?





OK, I love Brother, and I believe that he can do anything as long as he's willing to put in the work. And he's very talented at many things -- he's smart, he's a great writer and he's a good artist. And while he has managed to teach himself to play the guitar, he has no natural talent or ability when it comes to music. He doesn't even know that much about music. He listens to music, but he's not one of those cool, hipster music geeks who knows everything about music and is always listening to stuff that won't be popular for at least five years but when it finally is, it changes the world. He's not that guy. If the kid had been in the band during school I could maybe understand him wanting to pursue music. But he wants to be a rock star and, I'm sorry, it's just not going to happen. It's like the time he decided he wanted to be a WWE wrestler.

He also mentioned being a history teacher, an idea I can definitely get on board with. I told him I think kids who didn't do well in school can sometimes make the best teachers because they understand and can empathize with kids who learn differently or need some extra help. But, the thing is, if he really wants to be a teacher, he's got to go to school himself. And he's got to work really hard and make good grades. And that's going to be difficult for him, not because he can't do it, but because it's going to require a lot of hard work and effort and that's not always something he's willing to put forth. I also worry about how he's going to pay for school. Mom and Dad have no money, his HS grades aren't good enough to get him a scholarship, and I don't know that, if he were to take out a bunch of student loans, he'd be able to pay them back (Brother has not yet mastered the art of the budget). He could maybe get some grants based on his and our parents' incomes, but I still worry that his poor marks will get in the way of any free funding.

I still want him to pursue culinary school. That was the first idea he's ever had that was his own, that was practical, that was feasible and that he seemed really interested in working toward. After he decided he wanted to be a chef, he cooked dinner almost every night for the family and watched the Food Network religiously (although, so do I). I just think that becoming a chef is something Brother could do and do really well. I think it would be perfect for him. He would have to spend some time in school, but he wouldn't need a four-year degree, and he wouldn't be chained to a desk, filling in Scantron bubbles every day. He'd have very little chance of getting bored, and that's a problem he's always run into in school. And the same would be true if he got a job in a restaurant.

So, if I encourage him (dare I say, even attempt to persuade him) to pursue culinary school, is that the same as when his friend talked him into enlisting in the Marines? At what point do you cross the line that divides guidance and peer pressure? Because the kid certainly needs some guidance and direction, but I don't want to find myself guilty of pushing him into something that he really doesn't want. I also don't want him to work at Warehouse Market for the rest of his life because he's holding out for super stardom.


cyclefreaks said...

Is your brother older or younger than you? I'm just curious b/c you seem to have your shite together about 100x more but I bet you are still younger than he is. I dated someone like him in my younger days. I sure hope he finds out what he wants to do with his life. It's got to be frustrating to him, too.

Holly Wall said...

He's younger. He's only 19, which sometimes leads m to believe that I shouldn't give him such a hard time, but when I was 19 I had two jobs, went to school full-time and lived on my own. AND, he'll be 20 in June, which leads me to believe that maybe I should give him a harder time.

You have a good point when you say it's probably frustrating for him, too. I'm not sure I had thought of that. :)


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