Theo was an interesting child. He was always thinking and seemed to be several steps ahead of most people especially his parents. He loved to read. But most of all, he loved to think. To analyze. To take ideas to their logical conclusion. To learn. To think.
But so you don't get the wrong idea, he was also a very active child. Hyperkinetic was the word one doctor used for him. He loved to experiment. That might mean cracking a dozen eggs on the floor at age two to see how they would blend with a pot of chili or filling his room with an entire spider web of yarn. That might also mean taking his toys apart to see how they worked but never putting them back together. Why bother, he told me many years later. He had already seen what was inside and didn't need to know anymore. And he never slept. Most people agreed. He was amazing and also a handful. Most people would have rather heard stories about him than try to keep up with him.
As I said, Theo was an interesting child. Everyone, parents, grandparents,and teachers had great plans for him. He would go to college, get at least a doctorate degree and come up with some great invention or business. The sky was the limit.
So he started college. He changed majors a few times and settled on Financial Economics. That was a topic far from my interests, but he and Ward would have great debates on the merits of different economic policies on the financial health of the world. Some classes interested him and some didn't. So college went along and had it's ups and downs. However, everyone still agreed that he was a great thinker. That was why we were shocked when he came to us in his final year of college and said that he was dropping out to become a clock and watch maker.
We had the typical parental reaction. A what? What are you thinking? Just finish the degree and then you can do something else. I was thinking about the plans everyone secretly had for him. Our thinker wants to work with his hands? Maybe Wally who was always tinkering and building things, but not Theo who rarely built things. But our thinker had thought it through. This was not a whim. For a while, he hadn't liked college or his major and when he started to interview for jobs, he knew that was it. He would not be happy in his field.
So our thinker thought about what kind of job he wanted. What kind of working conditions he desired. How much money he wanted to make and what kind of lifestyle he wanted to live. Then he researched to find a job that would satisfy those needs that there would always be a demand for. And he came up with clock and watch repair. He told us about his plans the day before he had an interview at the clock school. He started a week later and has never looked back. This all happened a year ago and he has totally embraced his new profession and is happier than he's ever been.
So I could say a lot of things here about following your passion or marching to the beat of your own drummer. But mostly I want to say that I admire my son for the courage he had to change the course of his life despite the unknowns. I also admire him for listening to what he really wanted and needed and not to what others wanted for him. Those are things I don't do easily. I hope that I can remember Theo's example then and again and make my life fit better who I really am.
Is change hard for you or are you excited when you try something different?