Quick story to start my post – Every Passover Seder I attend at my Grandmother’s apartment (my Dad’s side is Jewish) my entire family goes around the table and says something that they would like to change or stop in the world. This is a very cool tradition, sort of the opposite of saying what you are thankful for on Thanksgiving. Usually, people say things like gun violence, or cancer, or cigarettes. Well one year, my brother, in his immature punk-like adolescent stage tried to be funny – and he was. “Mad Cow Disease”, he said. And, funny enough, mad cow disease was, at the time, a serious epidemic affecting a lot of cows and people across the country who made their living from farming/the meat industry. The whole table laugh and it was a nice break from the serious nature of the table conversation. He did not go with the theme of the table and instead did his own thing and without knowing it, brought some incredibly welcomed humor to the table.
As someone who has been fortunate to grow up in a nice suburb, go to a quality public high school and attend Bucknell University, I do not have much to complain about. But throughout the process there have been steps – private school or public school? what college? what internship? what sport? what job?…..that a lot of people look around to see what OTHER people are doing. We are all guilty of this, me especially. Now more than ever though it is important that we all go our own way, on our own path to determine where we want to be in the future. Many people in our class of 2013 already have jobs, many are looking for jobs, and many do not want jobs. Everyone is different and there is no right answer.
But, for me, this needs to start younger. Who cares what preschool you send your kids too or what private schools others are looking at, make decisions based on the needs and personality of yourself and your kids. Often times I feel as though the culture that I grew up in (mostly upper-middle class) was one of group think. For instance, “lets all do very similar things as to not disrupt the peace or the flow of the community”. The people that I respect the most, like my sister, are people who are after college, did exactly what they wanted to do. Hopefully one day I will have a wife and kids and be very content. But the decisions that I make for them as a family will not be based on the expectations or desires of other people or the community at large. I want my kids and myself to make decisions that make us happy and who gives a shit what other people think. Hopefully though, they choose to play basketball.