A couple of years ago my son informed me that he wants to be a musician when he finishes school. He was 13 at the time and I don't mind admitting that I panicked a little inside.
He was and still is clever. In primary school he thought he might like to be an architect some day. I thought that was a wonderful idea, given that he is very good at maths and also creative. But of course children don't really understand careers at such a young age so it seemed inevitable that he would change his mind.
Since he was given his first guitar at the age of two my son, who is now 15, has rarely been without it. More often than not when he is at home he is playing the guitar: strumming, singing and composing. I love listening to it, night and day. I could lose myself in his music all day, and on weekends that's often the case. So I shouldn't have been surprised when he revealed his aspiration for a life of music.
I have always believed that parents should allow their children to follow their dreams. I think back to my own dreams as a teenager and feel grateful that I wasn't prevented from chasing them. It isn't easy to appreciate the potential for success in an industry that differs vastly from your own. I have no comprehension of what it will take for my son to be a success in the music industry. All we can do as parents is support him in his endeavours.
My husband and I invest in guitar lessons and equipment. We also buy him tickets to see musicians and bands that he is interested in. We recently took him to see Missy Higgins in concert because his original songs are mainly ballads, full of emotion. As we expected, he was inspired by her performance. I liken it to another parents' investment in coaching for their future doctor or lawyer.
If you believe that children are born hard-wired and that all we can do as parents is guide their values and beliefs, as I do, then you have no choice but to buckle up for the ride. Unless something changes in the next three years that my son has left of school, it is likely that he will complete high school and pursue a career as a singer-songwriter-guitarist. I am hoping that he does so alongside a degree of any type as back-up because he is clever and because I am a great believer in having a Plan B regardless.
He recently performed his latest composition as part of a band for a guitar school end-of-year performance. It's one of my favourites and was a crowd pleaser on the night. Here it is for your viewing pleasure. (Proud parent alert.)
Do you believe that our children's passions are hard-wired?