DY: In Just a Few Words (#84)
Adulting is scary.
In 1988, my son, Denny, graduated from Miami University. I remember this for two reasons.
REASON 1: I went to the graduation ceremony in the university’s arena and was so proud to watch all the fine young people in their caps and gowns. We were up on the second level of the arena, and I had a wonderful view of all those about-to-be Miami alums as they listened intently and respectfully to their commencement speaker - a poet.
They all looked the same, except for one kid who had on a yellow headset. Hard to believe any graduating senior would rather listen to something other than a poet. When the ceremony was done we re-convened outside the building, including the person with the yellow headset. Turns out that person was Denny, listening to a CAVS playoff game. Why would anyone ever do such a thing when they could be tuned in to a poet?
REASON 2: Denny invited a friend and fellow recent Miami grad - Michael - to come to Cleveland to look for a job and to stay with us while he pursued this important next step. Michael was a really nice young man who had not mortified his family by wearing a yellow headset to graduation.
Michael settled in with the Young family and was part of our gang for the summer of 1988. Every day I would get up and leave the house for downtown, usually before 7 a.m. Needless to say, I never saw Michael in the morning. But each night I would come home to find him curled up on the couch watching TV. Any action today on the job front, Michael?
No, I made a couple of calls. I couldn't get through. I left messages, but nobody got back to me. Without putting pressure on him, I would ask, So, you’ve been here all day again? And, he would nod affirmatively, then go back to whatever he was watching.
Finally, one day I decided he needed a little jolt and I said, So Michael, you were here all day and I’ll bet nobody knocked on the door wanting to know if a bright, recent college grad would like a job. Right? He nodded yes. You know, Michael, nobody ever got a job sitting on a couch in my family room. You need to get off the couch and make something happen. The message was clear. Your job is to find a job.
And, he did. He went on to become a successful radio station manager and a music industry executive. Just this last week, I learned he is telling that story to this day and saying it was the jolt he needed.
This proves what I have said for years, which is that given some time to adjust to the larger world and a little firm encouragement, most young people will find their way, just as we did.
The moral of this story is simply this. Nobody will hand you success. You have to create your own success. Nobody will give it to you. You have to work for it. You have to earn it. Michael knows that now and I’m really glad he likes to share his story. Pay it forward, Michael.
As for the kid with the yellow headphones.... he did ok, too.
DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.
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