Father knows best

Georgie Hunt

I will never forget the time I was sitting at the dinner table surrounded by those I love most when my dad, after a particularly long and trying day’s work, leaned back in his chair and said to my two older brothers and me, “Make sure you do something with your life that you love. That’s what it should be all about.”

It is interesting to look at the majors my brothers and I have chosen because it is obvious we took heed of our dad’s advice, choosing what we love and enjoy over that which is more likely to rake in the dough, so to speak. This not to say that two architects and an English major who does not want to teach are destined be to destitute; rather, we were instilled with a value system of priorities that placed happiness and fulfillment above all other seemingly necessary practicalities. I am thankful for many elements of my upbringing, but this ideology is one I hold most dearly and one that I feel privileged to possess.

The other day I overheard a conversation about jobs and careers, their purposes and the rationales people use to determine the direction in which they see themselves veering. Perhaps I should not have been so shocked to discover that for some, money is what it’s all about. I can only imagine what these particular people think of my choice to scribble lines on a threateningly blank piece of paper or computer screen.

What do they think of my brothers’ choices to enter into the field of architecture, to be the artists behind the masterpieces that are capable of evoking an entire range of human emotions from are to comfort?

Perhaps they think my brothers and I and all others who stray in the directions their passions pull them are crazy, but I have to believe that we are the only ones who make any sense at all.

I am not so romantic as to assume that happiness is enough because, of course, it never is. It does not pay the bills. My dad is one of the hardest workers I have ever known. My life has been something of a wonderland because he has worked to make it so. He has impressed upon me an appreciation of something more: an urge to strive, to stretch, to risk, but never to worry.

My parents have always made it clear that kids should start out on the bottom, and I think a lot of people do not teach that. I have been brought up with the notion that if you want something, you work for it. I have been prepared for the fact that when I am 25, I might be living in a tiny hole in the city, eating grilled cheese and Campbell’s tomato soup. Honestly, I look forward to those days!

I do not envy the kids I see driving ridiculous cars – I do not envy them for a second. I do not blame them either. I wonder at their parents, though, for such practices are so distant from the ones familiar to me.

Giving a child a car, a car my parents if fully capable, probably would not even buy for themselves, is like teaching them that life is easy. Therefore, kids get attached to the notion that money makes it easy, and they take the easy way out.

I believe that it is not our place as 20-something to start out on the same level as our parents are at now. Perhaps we should want that immediate success for ourselves, but success is only success if it means something. Is there something behind the money, something backing it up – some love or passion? It is not about the car. It is about the drive. Thanks, Dad.