SUPPORTING YOUR DREAMS - Being a parent, in my opinion, is the hardest job out there. I mean, you are responsible for shaping someone’s life. Will the choices you make result in a serial killer, an addict, a bully? Will they have the social skills to make friends and form authentic connections, or will they become a recluse and turn to depression from disconnection? Will they be smart enough to have a career of their own that will allow them to take care of themselves? These are all questions parents have as they struggle to make choices in how they parent. Never mind just keeping the kid alive. I remember my mother coming in to my bedroom on a nightly basis, after I was asleep, and kissing me on the forehead as a disguise to checking to see if I was still breathing. She wasn’t fooling me. I knew what was up. I think it’s pure Darwinian - ensure the survival of your species. You want your kids to be thriving, independent, high-functioning individuals. And that translates right down to the work they choose for themselves when they grow up. I remember as a kid sitting at the dinner table and telling my parents that I wanted to be an actor. After taking a breath to determine whether I was serious or not, they chuckled and said, “No seriously, Jaime. What do you want to do?” When I responded with the same answer, they chuckled a little bit less, and I saw the complete fear in their eyes; fear that I would be waiting tables and forced to live with them for the rest of their lives. They went in to panic mode. The message was clear. Acting was off the table.
A few years later in high school, I found my career in counselling. I was fascinated by the brain, by human behaviour, by listening to people’s stories, and by the ability to see beneath what they were actually telling me. It was the coolest thing I’d ever experienced, and I had no doubt this was what I wanted to do. But when I brought home the idea of going into psychology, my parents were nervous once again. “You mean psychiatry right?” I knew I wanted to practice counselling. But did I need to spend ten years in medical school, most likely killing myself to pass, to do it? I didn’t think so. Was it a more stable path? For sure. But there was no way I was getting through medical school; nor getting in, in the first place. They were nervous for me. But they supported me despite their uncertainty. They supported me through undergrad, graduate school, and cheered me on as I build my private practice. They realized it was my dream, and got behind me even though they were scared and unsure I would be okay. Their support gave me the opportunity to find my own path and create the most satisfying, challenging and rewarding career. And THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING!