By Gary Sprague
My son is eighteen years old and almost a year out of high school. He tried college for a semester, living on campus, and it didn’t work out. Now he’s working at Lowe’s and considering taking classes at the local community college.
He’s already thinking about making a career of Lowe’s. The possibility of a stable job with benefits and the potential of good pay down the road can be tempting for a person his age. I wanted him to stay in college, but working and taking a class or two a semester seems to be a better fit for him. Not every kid belongs on a college campus.
But, as I said, he’s eighteen, and like most people that age he has other dreams. At that age, my dream was to become a rock star and date Christie Brinkley. And at the age of eighteen, when life is wide open and anything seems possible, I really believed that it could happen. But my complete lack of musical talent kept me from being a rock star, and I eventually went in an entirely different direction – I became a plumber. Sadly, that was when I discovered that Christie Brinkley does not date plumbers.
Still, it was nice to have those teenage dreams. It’s one of the benefits of youth. And my son has a similar dream – he’s recently announced that he wants to be a rapper. This news was not met with the enthusiasm that I think he was hoping for. I don’t understand the appeal of rap music. There’s no real melody and the lyrics tend to be very angry. My son lives in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood, in a town in Maine. What’s to be angry about? Maybe he could rap about his hatred of shoveling snow.
I’m not real worried about him becoming a full-time rapper, though he has invested a lot of money in it, including expensive microphones and recording programs.
Even so, I’m pretty sure it’s a phase that will pass. Some kids know exactly what they want to be right out of the gate, but I think most teens have no idea what they want to be. At that age, there are almost unlimited options and anything is possible.
For example, at one point a few years ago, one of my son’s teenage dreams was to be a police officer. He was in a cadet program in school and was doing quite well. The program really pushed the kids, both mentally and physically, and he enjoyed it at first. But as with most teenagers, his attention waned and it wasn’t long before something else caught his attention.
He next wanted to be a shoe designer. I would say that, over four years of high school, our son owned at least fifty pairs of shoes and sneakers. Probably more. He’d barter, trade, etc. At some point he decided he’d design his own sneaker. One of his teachers had a connection with a freelance designer for a major shoe company, and he took the time to meet with my son one afternoon. For quite a while after that meeting my son was very gung-ho about designing shoes, but somehow that also passed.
He also talked about becoming a musician. This is a path I wish he’d taken, because he can play several instruments and has a lot of potential. The school music teacher once pulled me aside to tell me that my son was one of the most talented students she’d ever taught. But his interest seemed to fade over time, and he never really had the passion for it that music requires.
Before leaving for college, my son went to have his eyes checked and came home wanting to be an optometrist. One conversation with the doctor about his job and how much optometry pays was all it took. My son seriously considered going to school for it, based on that one appointment.
So I’m not too concerned about my son’s teenage dreams of pursuing a budding rapping career. The great thing about being a teenager is developing different interests and trying new things. I’m pretty sure our son will move on from wanting to be a rapper, much like he did with his previous interests. And if not, well, at least he has a job at Lowe’s.
Gary Sprague is a freelance writer from Maine. You can read more about him at his blog, middleagedmainah.com.