Let’s talk opportunities and expectations – and a little bit about the American Dream.
Tomorrow morning, I will pack our family of five into our car and head out on a two-week trip to Chicago.
Will it be partly a vacation? Yes. Partly a recharge? Definitely.
But it’s also all about opportunity for my oldest son.
Malcolm has been determined since he was small to succeed in the performing arts. He’s been in plays, taken singing lessons, worn a Big Bird costume at church and worked his tail off during his first year of high school. Now, with college quickly creeping over the horizon, I think it’s my job to provide two things – and not provide another.
What I can give him are opportunities and expectations.
What I can’t give him are results.
For two weeks, Malcolm will get intensive training at the Second City Theatre camp in Chicago, where some of the world’s best comic actors learned their craft – Colbert, Carrell, Tina Fey, Belushi and Aykroyd, the list goes on and on. But while he is on that stage learning, my ability to effect the outcome ends.
It’s up to Malcolm’s hard work – and God’s grace.
This is hard for me. I’m someone who is rarely satisfied when I don’t get the result that I want, especially when it comes to my family. Isn’t there always one more person to ask, one more favor to call in, so we can get a yes instead of a no.
But that’s not the right lesson for my kid. He needs to experience the highs and lows that come with the opportunities we can put into his path. And in the profession that he’s choosing, there are going to be many. Failure is part of that business, but failure also breeds a thick skin and a more-polished performer. Providing opportunity – and not results – is also how I see the American Dream. As someone who started my own business, all I have asked for is the opportunity to do good work. I don’t expect to be guaranteed results. I’m willing to try, to get the best training I can, to fill my brain up with the best information and if I fail, I fail. I have seen many others launch their own dreams into the world and get gobbled up – or just give up. Many times it was because they were more focused on the results than the work. And sometimes just flat out resented the work (this is a whole blog for another time). We need to know what we have control over and what we don’t.
That is where the expectations come in as well.
I don’t expect him to win. I don’t expect him to always get the biggest part. I don’t expect him to be famous.
I only expect him to work hard, to have the strength to keep trying and to have faith.
And that’s all God expects of us.
I’ll be checking in on Twitter and on the blog during the next couple of weeks. Have some great podcast guests too. Please pray for me and my family. I appreciate it.
You lazy fool, look at an ant.
Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two.
Nobody has to tell it what to do.
All summer it stores up food;
at harvest it stockpiles provisions.
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
poverty your permanent houseguest! (Proverbs 6:6-11 MSG)