UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Do you support an impractical dream?

Your 30-something son works a stable job in insurance. Ecstatic, he calls up to announce he’s quit work to pursue his new-found dream of becoming a musical theatre actor. You fear his stage talents are mediocre at best and worry this foray into theatre will leave him broke and directionless.

By Kevin Little and Lee Simpson

Author's photo
Rev. Kevin Little is a minister at St. Luke’s United in Upper Tantallon, N.S.


When it comes to the passion of vocation, my imagination takes me to Matthew 4: “As he walked . . . Jesus saw two brothers. . . . [T]hey were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.”

Life is a short proposition. As it was for the fishermen, the call to live out one’s dream is serious business. And a call to the stage shouldn’t be blocked by me, an amateur theatre critic whose credentials are open to question.

My sense, though, is that pursuing a calling ought to include sacrifices, and these sacrifices should be borne primarily by the one being called. I believe people should live out their dreams, but not when the only ones making the sacrifices are family, friends or taxpayers.

What I will tell my son is that I am proud he wants to take risks in order to live out his dream, and I will offer my support. However, he will need to have a plan to make this dream a reality, and that plan must include paying for his education and his bills, either by working as a musical theatre director or in another field. That might mean remaining at his insurance job, taking night classes and working nights and weekends on his new vocation. If his theatre work starts to gain renown and the compensation becomes enough to live on, he can quit the insurance job.

My own brother is an example. He lives to act and write plays. But he has been unable to live off the income generated from this passion. No matter — he works in information technology (another love of his), which subsidizes his theatre life.

But this is all by way of suggestion. My son can and will do what he wants. And I will offer my continued love and encouragement throughout.


Rev. Lee Simpson is a writer in Lunenburg, N.S. New posts of YBN will appear every other Friday. You can also check out a short documentary about Lee at http://www.ucobserver.org/video/2014/04/ybn/.


My reaction might once have been to propel myself into a full-fledged, finger-wagging fit. Mercifully for both of us, that time has long passed.

In the Depression, keeping a job was foundational to a decent life. That generation was understandably cautious. The result? Many chained themselves to employment, casting aside dreams. That day is gone. We live and work longer and, over the course of our lives, at many jobs. There is no reward for loyalty to an employer. And increasingly, the pension ball is in our own court.

My son is capable of good decision-making. His excitement suggests his commitment to this challenge. It would be churlish to play the parental “money card.” “Just don’t come to me when you are broke and broken-hearted,” I could say. These are useless words to spit at a grown man.

As for doubting his talent, I remember how my Uncle George sniffed at my Bob Dylan album in 1968, “Mark my words: that no-talent hippie will never last.” So much for the ability of one generation to judge another’s art.

Most importantly, my son is not embarking on anything illegal, immoral or dangerous to his health. These should be the only grounds for a lecture from parents to fully-grown offspring. In fact, there is much to be said for flight testing a dream now, with no dependents in tow.

Finally, I remember my friend Danielle, who got married late, to the man of her dreams. He was charming, handsome and stable. He was also a wannabe musician who one day, at age 55, left his job and his bride to fulfil his rock-star ambitions. Better now than later, my son, when no heart is at risk but your own.



Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

If statues could talk

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Stolen Mother

by Observer Staff

The daughter and adoptive mother of one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women share their story

Promotional Image

Society

July 2017

From far and wide

by Various Writers

Meet 11 immigrants who are putting down new roots

World

June 2017

A suitcase for Cuba

by Christopher Levan

You’ll find more than giveaway toiletries and hand-me-downs in the writer's luggage. Each carefully chosen gift offers a glimpse into the lives of Cubans today.

Justice

June 2017

Undocumented

by Kristy Woudstra

Up to half a million people are living in Canada without official status. The ‘sanctuary city’ movement is growing, but the fear of deportation persists.

World

June 2017

Resisting genocide

by Sally Armstrong

In August 2014, ISIS attacked Iraq’s Yazidis, slaughtering thousands and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Today, the survivors are fighting for their ancient way of life.

Society

April 2017

Dear Grandkids

by Various Writers

Six acclaimed Canadian authors write letters from the heart

Society

March 2017

Called to resist

by Paul Wilson

Liberal Christians in the United States test their faith against a demagogue

Promotional Image