For those of you around the U.S. who have been attending my workshops, I shared that the favorite part of my blog is when the community jumps in and participates in supporting someone who is pursuing a dream.
My “Jon the Ballplayer” series is one such example. I have now run quite a few posts on this story, and wanted to add one more this evening since it is so sweet.
The series thus far:
If the last post weren’t enough, where Jon tells us that he followed our advice and is doing great, his Mom Valerie just sent me her perspective on her recent visit to Germany with Jon:
I have been keeping in touch with the website and Jon told me he wrote an update to his adventure. I would like to add my two cents if you find it relevant to print.
My first response —— I am so proud of Jon — against all odds (parents, money, economy) he found the courage to grow. It’s hard to admit as a parent that your child can give you a life lesson. When did the turn around happen? It seems like yesterday that he was in little league — being driven to games and now he’s an adult escorting his parents through Europe. It is truly amazing.
Without a doubt, Jon made the right decision. Meeting him at the airport in Hamburg, I saw a different son. He was more sophisticated, more mature, more respectful. What a great week we had while he proudly showed us the beautiful city. (Without saying I told you so)
I was fortunate I was able to take 3 weeks off from work and for 2 weeks Jon and I traveled alone throughout Germany and then to London. I don’t think I spent this much time with him — one on one —since elementary school. It just doesn’t happen with school, family, and friends. That in itself was a wonderful birthday present.
Our family has come full circle. My parents met in Germany after the war. I was born there but we migrated to America when I was three. I had no recollection of my birth place. I always knew that I had to return to get a sense of fulfillment. I didn’t know I would travel there because my son would be living in Germany. My father passed away a few years ago and my mother is now under hospice care — so it was very spiritual visiting the towns they lived in and walking the streets they walked — probably with me in tow. Germany has beautiful Gothic churches and every church we went in to we lite a candle for my mother and father. I have to say that the town we lived in Ettlingen was one of the most picturesque towns in Germany. Very Hansel and Gretel………I was very happy. I had a great sense of belonging. The people were extra friendly and extra supportive when I told them I lived there as a child. I really felt like I came home. There was actually another mystery solved while being there but that is another more complicated story.
I did become the child and Jon became the parent. He led the way, knew the rail system, mapped our destinations. He has a great sense of direction. I really didn’t have to think –just followed (just like a toddler). Actually he saved me money because I booked suites to be comfortable and he told me a regular room is good enough – so we changed and the money saved we used for extra excursions — we got to see more. One thing about Jon – he is very frugal and cost efficient. He would be a great CFO.
We did a city in a day but covered it all. Somehow I kept up the pace. Next time I know to travel lite. Rail travel with an overfilled, over sized suitcase that bearable makes it down the aisle does not work……….we stood out as “tourist” to Jon’s chagrin.
I really don’t know if he is ready to come home. I think what happens– the lifestyle becomes so cosmopolitan and freestyle. Can he conform to a job? It’s hard for most people to leave college because their carefree “fun” lifestyle is over. It’s going to be hard for him to leave Europe because his experience was so positive and his schedule so open. Work comes with restrictions. Hopefully the experience will bring him the knowledge and understanding to have a successful career. There is another chapter to this story and probably many more chapters. He is a man with many ideas. He does plan to pursue starting his own business and maybe businesses. My advise to him – even if one fails – you will only gain more experience for the next one. Never give up.
This is a book and a movie script.
Our system is flawed because we don’t provide our youth with the right choices early in life. Guidance counselors in High School are paper pushers for college entries but don’t provide life choices. They should be replaced with life coaches instead. Wouldn’t that make more sense? That would be the best time to provide guidance — the start of a persons career. Choices are never discussed in high school. Only what classes to take to graduate or get into college. But that is also another topic.
Jon reached out to cubicle nation because he wanted confirmation that he was on the right track. He couldn’t get that assurance at home. It’s beyond words how grateful I am to the people that took their time to encourage him and provide sound guidance. Without the letters of encouragement I would have been too cautious and worried about him leaving his job and finding another one — especially when he was fortunate to find a well paying job so early in his career. Which actually provided him the monetary freedom to leave. Possibly the letters were more encouraging and motivational for me because I had a 360 degree turn around. Jon was already on the cliff – just needed the extra push.
I can’t believe how well the pieces fit for him. How easy my husband and I turned around and saw a different picture. It was meant to be. There are no other answers.
In closing (not to make this sound like the academy awards), but, I would like to especially thank Pam for taking the interest in presenting Jon’s story and continuing the saga. I would like to thank everyone that responded and showed genuine interest and concern. It truly “takes a village”. What a great group you have Pam. I will continue to stay in touch.
Thank you Valerie for being so open to receiving input and support from others. This whole experience has made me very proud of my community.
It takes a village indeed.
End note: Valerie’s Mom passed away just days ago. She expressed her joy at visiting her place of birth with Jon while her Mom was still alive. Our best wishes and biggest hugs are with you Valerie.