I now believe that the greatest challenge an adult will ever face is being a parent. While I am just a step-parent, I have learned in a short amount of time just how special parents really are and just how important they are in ensuring the positive development process for our future generations. Not that this information is really shocking to me, nor do I expect it to be shocking to most people. However, I do believe that it needs to be said. So…what does this have to do with music you ask?
I find with each musical step I make there is a new voice that has emerged. This voice is of awareness, reminding me that in addition to the fans I have been fortunate enough to have built through many years, there is a fan of a different kind watching me. Not watching me on the tv, or through internet social sites…certainly not through radio shows and studio sessions…no….this fan watches me every day; at home. He listens carefully while I sing new songs and collaborate with others, he dances to what he feels in his soul and he absorbs EVERYTHING. His mind is like a crazy sponge, picking up each detail and expressing his interests boldly and with a “matter of fact-ness” that sometimes drives me insane (insert his profound interest in today’s rap music) but mostly makes me incredibly proud (insert his interest in electric guitar, shower vocals, keyboard and Youtube sensation dance moves).
So you see, I wasn’t particularly surprised when he was mentioning starting a band. Nor was I surprised at his expression of clear desire to “do what BK does” as his career choice. What surprised me was how I felt about it. This sudden fear rushed through me immediately. All these questions ran through my head. “Is he going to be a starving musician?” “Is his heart strong enough to handle the let downs and broken promises of the music industry?” “Is his band going to be good?”…and the list continued. Of course this string of mental chaos was broken when I put into perspective that he is only 10 years old but it left me wondering…what if he becomes like me? Ahhh. Let the mental chaos begin again…
I didn’t feel like I had a choice when it came to making a career out of music. Although great at a lot of things, music was the only thing that ever really made me happy. Thus when it came to the decision of career selection, it was a shoe in. Music it was. My family would have preferred business, advertising and marketing or stock broker; anything other than entertainment but it just didn’t go down that way. I almost resented some of the members of my family for being so negative about something that made me so entirely happy. I was actually quite frustrated. This resentment carried with me a long time and often I refer back to these feelings when I need a reminder to carry on with my dream. So what was my problem? It’s not like I didn’t completely understand the passion behind dream chasing, especially when it came to music in specific. What was I so damn worried about?
That’s when it all hit me.
You want the BEST for your child. You want them to not only have dreams and pursue them but you want that success for them as well. You want that happiness, that security, that lifelong journey of independence and well being, that…..
Holy crap! I am my mother.
I now understand the feeling of certain things not appearing good enough for your child at first glance. I understand that desire of wanting to shield them from all the bad in the world and steadily try to guide them around all the mistakes that you made growing up. This of course is impossible. I realize that. Yet that feeling is very present.
I have been incredibly fortunate having many successes with “my dream”. Despite lack of support from some of my most important idols, I carried on with it anyways and I feel great about what I have accomplished in this crazy world of entertainment. I truly do. I am not sure that I would change a thing if I really had the option. I have found myself in this crazy life and feel good about the person that I am and the things that I have to offer others. It dawned on me that he sees this too and this is a huge factor in his desire to go down that same road. He sees how happy music makes me. He sees the people I am inspired by and pays close attention to my reactions. He feels the passion pouring out of me and now…naturally he caught the “bug”.
Instead of trying to encourage him to go another route out of fear, I have decided to support any adventure that he wants a part in. My job is to empower him to make good decisions and be proud of the man he will become. If that means following in my footsteps, so be it. If it means that next year his goal will be to land himself on the cover of Forbes magazine, so be it. Point is, that lately I have been thinking a lot on what music has brought to me. I wouldn’t have the family I have if I hadn’t been making music. I wouldn’t have the amazing friends that I have if I hadn’t been making music. I wouldn’t have had the experiences I have had without making music. With life being so unpredictable and in some cases, shorter than we would like, my goal is to learn to slow down and appreciate each little step. I notice that a lot of parents would love for their child to follow in their footsteps. They love the possibility of passing down the talent and passion of what they love to their children. Although I wouldn’t be opposed if his music passion remained, I will love him no matter what he decides. His life isn’t up to me. It’s up to him. Whatever he decides, he will have the love and support to get him as close to where he needs to be as possible.
Again, what does this have to do with music right?
Through entertainment, we educate our future generations. We inspire them to become something, someone. Through entertainment we are teachers and in a strange way, we are parents. Kids watch our every move. They wish to be us. They mimic us and depend on us to show them what we have learned. I don’t believe that this concept is accepted enough. If you stay true to who you are in what you love, you will inspire those that pay attention to do the same. There needs to be more of this. Period.
And that, my friends, is what I remind myself every night when he falls asleep dreaming of ninjas, solar systems and video games. It’s up to me to learn about his world. But you know what? He is always willing to teach me. So who is really the parent eh?