So I’m in front of Liz’s class – I think there were three classes put together actually – and we’re talking about the media and the hands are going up, up, up.
One after another, the kids tell me about this story and that one. Fires in Australia – that’s the one Liz recently “reported” on – and Lance Armstrong’s confession, and Rover on Mars, and, and and … it was all part of their recent class assignment on reporting.
For my part, as guest speaker for the moment, I sat in front of them all in a little wicker chair with my camera and notepad and pen – the tools of this trade – and shared about my first day on the job as a reporter, 24 years ago this month.
There I am at the St. Thomas Times-Journal, green as Kermit the Frog, and I’m given a camera and notepad and pen and sent on my way to cover the story of this local inventor – chemist, Gary, who had believed that he had unlocked the secret of how to make water burn.
This, of course, would solve a lot of headaches around the world and I thought I was rather fortunate to be able to report on this good news for my first career assignment.
I will have to share more another time, but for now let me just say that the kids had a lot of questions and interest about my experience. Was Gary right? Was Gary crazy? What happened?
What happened is that I found that first day on the job rather enjoyable. And many days since then.
And this is what I said. Whatever you do, whatever you decide to be, whatever you’re told or not told, do something with your life that you enjoy. Have fun with it. Because if you’re not having fun with your so-called work, then why bother?
It was a message for all those kids with all those raised hands. But mostly, as she has already heard and I hope continues to hear more often than not, it was a message for Liz.
The day may come when I will regret this word, what some would call pie-in-sky, impractical and foolish advice. The day may also come when Liz herself doubts it in one way or another.
Yes, parents invariably regret a lot of things they do or don’t tell their kids. But I suppose there are worse regrets to carry around than telling your child that the can be anything and anyone that they want.
Like the burden of knowing that they’re trying to be someone who they were never made to be.