When I was about 9 years old, I decided that I wanted to be a lawyer. My parents agreed that I would be a great lawyer because I could argue better than any other child on the playground. I can vaguely remember telling my guidance counselors and elementary school teachers about how one day, I was going to be attending Harvard Law School and I was going to be the best prosecutor that any court had ever seen. My parents stood behind me, probably flashing that grin that says, "We really love our child and this is what she wants right now, so please go with it."
I believe I kept that dream of becoming a lawyer until I was 13. After that, I realized that there was true passion when it came to fighting for what's right, but not much expression. Now, I mean that in its truest form, but at the time, what that meant for me was the realization that there were not many clothing option choices, and I am entirely too pale to wear black as often as most civil servants do. Sports were never my thing; I weighed 69 pounds when I got into middle school and my coordination has always been off. I was socially awkward and didn't understand other girls' love for makeup, and even more disturbing, boys. That portion of my life would have been dictated by loneliness if it hadn't of been for books. Reading and the knowledge that it was giving me was the first true love of my life.
Around this same time, I started writing more myself. Words tumbled onto paper effortlessly, page after page until I found myself filling up notebooks faster than they could be given to me. Due to anxiety, I never had the courage to share any of the pieces that I had written for years. When I finally did, the first people who read my work were my parents. They were ecstatic that I found something that made me feel so good about myself.
Since then, my dad has surprised me with two cameras to help me in my journey for photojournalism -- both times I cried. He has been my cheerleader the second he realized that I had no plans of becoming someone with the simple 9-to-5 job. My father went to school for broadcasting, and when the economy crashed in 2008, he had no problems making his own videography company. We've had countless talks about following our dreams and how they make life worth living. He takes me on photoshoots, we bounce ideas off each other, and he introduced me to other artists who do wonderfully in our field. It gives me butterflies every time I meet someone new because one day that very well could be me.
When I tell people that I want to be a writer, or that I'm majoring in creative writing with nothing to fall back on, you can imagine the reactions: the scoffs, the eye rolls, the people that ask me if I plan on making little to no money or if I plan on meeting a rich husband while I'm in college. Those people can be slightly discouraging, but nothing in comparison to how defeated I would feel if my parents had treated my dreams this way.
My dad has never come to me and said, "Are you sure this is the right thing to do? Are you sure that this is what you want?" He knows that there is no job with no pay grade that could render me from following this path, so he didn't find it. Instead, he jumped on the wagon with me and has pushed me to follow my dream. He dotes at dinner parties and get-togethers about his talented daughter, the writer. There are no words to describe how proud I feel that my parents believe in me.
Your child isn't promised infinite success by you supporting them, but it'll certainly feel like it, at least to them. I know that just because they're letting me go out into the world and do what I want that I'm going to make it, but there is a higher chance that I will because the two most important people in my life never made me feel like I was going to fail. They raised me to be ambitious, and to fight for the pursuit of a career that I'll thrive in, even if it's just me that thinks so.