Friday, August 14, 2015

Theo's Graduating!

Today we will be celebrating Theo's graduation from horology school with his classmates. Tomorrow we will be celebrating with family. We are all very happy. Below is a repost from a year ago that talks a bit about the journey brought him to his graduation today.

Our Thinker's Courage

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 horology 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.


10 comments:

  1. I would have had a hard time keeping up with him when he was a child! I often think that our society pushes kids to make big life decisions, especially about fields of study and career choice, before they have a chance to know themselves well. A childhood friend of mine excelled at mathematics and began pursuing a mechanical engineering degree at University of Michigan. By her sophomore year she was flunking out--while academically she was good at math, what she loved and was passionate about was working with kids. She switched majors to elementary ed and it was a much better fit for her. It's so easy to look at test scores and say "oh, you scored high on such-and-such, you should go into ... " but it's just as vital to look at personality traits--do you like desk work and quiet or would that bore you silly? Are you comfortable in front of large crowds of people ... and so on ... anyway, all to say that it's great that Theo thought this through. He will be happier in the long run.

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    1. Everyone had a hard time keeping up with Theo when he was younger. As an adult, he doesn't show any of that hyperactivity of his younger days. I guess that somethings you do outgrow.

      I was given advice on how to choose a career by my high school principal, but I didn't have enough life experience to understand it. But now, I know exactly what he was talking about. At least Theo has thought about what he wants. Now we'll see if his actual experiences measure up. I think they will.

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  2. Was out of town for a long weekend and missed this post entirely. Congratulations for finishing and for finding something to bring happiness and money. Too many people put their passion on the back seat while pursuing the brass ring.

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    1. I am very proud that he has followed through with his choice. Horology school was not easy for him but he stuck with it. Now to see what's next. It's fun to watch your child mature. Sometimes, you think it will never happen, but eventually it does.

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  3. Mike H from 3033 DerringAugust 17, 2015 at 12:22 PM

    A very big congratulations to "Theo," "June." You and "Ward" must be really proud. I wish him a lot of luck and fulfillment with his creative career. It really is amazing to see how our children make their own paths.

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    1. Thank you. It is amazing to watch kids find their way. And often it's not the way the parents imagine. Geology was not something my parents ever imagined for me.

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  4. Congratulations to Theo! I'd say your thinker is still a thinker, just a thinker who wants time to work with his hands too. What a brilliant young man he is to have come up with a list of both what he wanted from a job and what kind of lifestyle he wanted to live to find a match between the two. After living for 20+ years in a university town I can tell you most don't think through much about their majors and very few ever work in the field their degree prepared them for.

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    1. I think most kids of university age just don't have enough life experience to really know what they want or to even ask the questions about what they want. I was that way. However, as I said, Theodore was always one who took his thinking further than most.

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