Can you be anything you want to be? I think we've all heard it or said it to someone, and yet when I was driving Jacob to school yesterday, we heard someone on the radio say that it just isn't true. They further hypothesized that we should avoid saying it and especially avoid telling our children, lest they believe it.
I suppose it is true that our skills and abilities may be a natural selection of sorts. Despite my strivings as a young lad, I never did get close to becoming a professional basketball player. Despite my multiple attempts at being a radio/podcast host, there is no guarantee that anyone will ever hire me.
While my skill set may be a natural limiter and my son may eventually find something he is not great at, I am convinced that excellence is not merely attained by the talented. I do not believe that a lack of skill should ever preclude the attempt for achievement. I believe that a necessary function of the human plight is the attempt to become great at something that is fraught with difficulty.
I hope that I became the best short, fat, white basketball player I could. I hope that I never give my miniscule audience less than I can. I hope that Jacob never ceases to try at something he may not be great at. It may be true that we can't do anything we want for a living, but I believe what makes this country great is that we can ATTEMPT to do whatever we want. I think that striving for excellence is important.
People can vote for the best person for a particular political office even if that person has no chance to win. Equally jaded people may not accept that it is usually unwise to tell someone to give up on something. There is greatness that should be strived for, even when it is difficult. I, for one, believe that only working when you have natural talents eliminates that certain something that is derived from perseverance, and THAT is immeasurably important!
So while it may be true that Jacob can't do whatever he wants with his life, I hope he doesn't realize that until he's tried it with all his might. I hope he blazes a trail to become the best at something, even if his best is far short of the professional level. I will continue to tell him to attempt everything he wants, to value those opportunities, and to work as hard as he can. And if he works hard to achieve excellence in something for which he is not suited, I believe I will learn more about him than his failed venture, and that is what I want for him, as a father!