Our Story Begins:
Practicing What You Preach
Last week, as I was about to drop my oldest daughter off for her second year of college, I wrote here about pushing her to choose her own path…tell her own story, to follow the theme of my column’s title “Our Story Begins.”
So it was after the pontification I posted my daughter put the shoe on the other foot.
In the very long drive from our home to her college dorm we had a lot of time to discuss the path we have tread in the last three-and-a-half years. My daughter is more than thankful that she gets to do what she wants and that she’s been recognized by her school for her work ethic and her talent. She’s got the opportunity to do a lot of great things this year and she’s happy about that. She even thanked me for making her analyze her career choices and follow her own heart.
Related: Our Story Begins: Leading by Example
Fast forward to this last weekend and she’s nervous, a bit melancholy to leave her family again, but excited by the massive amount of work ahead of her. She’s going into theater and talked about the drama department where she will work. We made comparisons to music and recording and playing on stage. I, you see, had dreams of being a full-time musician in my youth. I had no dreams of being a rock god or chasing after Lady-Gaga-style-fame. I wanted to be a working musician.
My daughter asked me why I wasn’t a working full-time musician?
The reality, I told her, was that at the age of 23 I had a daughter . . . her. Then a few years later her sister came along. I had gone to school for and gotten jobs in journalism and the career was taking off. Eventually, I left my brother and our band, Manoucheri, behind and moved to Texas. (This is where I met head GEM Rene!) Life had a way of intervening in dreams, not that I gave up music, I just didn’t record any new music.
It’s here my daughter used my own words against me.
“That’s no excuse,” she told me. “If you really want to do it you’ll find a way. You told me that . . . and the people in my department say that, too, you just have to be brave enough to take the risk.”
She threw the videos we’ve made for GEM over the last few years in my face, too. It’s hard to argue with yourself, particularly when your own words have been successful for your child.
Three years ago, after my wife’s passing, I had writer’s block. I wrote one song over two years. That was maddening. Then inspiration hit and I started to amass material. My daughter has heard me playing it and got angry with me. She didn’t believe, for a second, I couldn’t record and sell music again.
So I didn’t argue. What you see up there is me . . . writing and recording. I have demos for six songs and have to finish writing another seven. When I have the songs in-hand, at her suggestion, I’ll put a Kickstarter campaign together and try to get the funds to hire the studio band and record the LP.
She’s right, after all. There is no excuse. If I tell my kids the risks are worth it, why do I worry about the risks myself? The worst that would happen is nobody buys it . . . but connect with one, just one person and you’ve made an impact.
So my free moments will see, again, a guitar in-hand and microphones placed. I will play on, every free moment.
I will practice what I’ve preached . . . and I will dream.
What about you? Do you grab for the dreams of old? Do you find a way to make them work or do you take the safe route?