I was having a conversation with my 14-year-old son Joseph during our afternoon school pick-up commute recently. He began 9th grade this year and has been having a few thoughts about his interests and potential future career.
During his middle school years, he was a part of the band and played the alto saxophone. My husband, who comes from a musical family and was a drummer, organist, and part of the marching band in high school, was ecstatic that his son had taken interest in an instrument. He was so excited about Joey going to high school and joining the band, following in his footsteps.
I can’t say that I shared in his delight, though.
I know my son, and I knew he didn’t have a real interest in playing an instrument or being in the band. Throughout his three years of middle school, I can count on one hand the times Joey brought his saxophone home. Whenever he did, it usually just remained in the trunk of the car until it was time to take it back to school for the next use. He never practiced outside of class, never made mention of it, and barely enjoyed performing for band concerts. To him, it was all just for a grade.
Joey is amazingly gifted as a singer, songwriter, and arranger of melodies; as a musician, though he has the ability, he lacks the passion. So, I would often say to Jeremy, “You know, Joey’s not really into that sax, right?” He would respond with, “It’s in his blood. His granddaddy, daddy, and uncles all played instruments; he’ll learn to love it just like we did.”
In true LaKeisha fashion of not being one to crush another’s dream, I would simply say, “Alright, babe. But you do know that just because y’all did it, doesn’t mean that he will.” He wasn’t hearing me though. That man had hope, hear me?!
What a sad day it was in the Collins household when, right before band camp was to begin, Joey finally revealed what I had known all along – he was not in the least bit interested in playing an instrument or being in the band. My poor husband was crushed! I tried to tell him so he could prepare his heart and mind for the inevitable, but he was so sure that because his family history produced a lineage of musicians and band members, it would automatically be our son’s destiny.
We often hear the term, “History repeats itself,” but I am one to believe that is not always true, particularly when it comes to determining one’s path according to their bloodline.
This may sound harsh, but I come from a family history that I prayed I would not repeat. I grew up seeing male relatives physically abuse women, drug activity, unsuccessful marriages, poverty, complacency, and division. To think that any of those things were assumed automatic for me because of family lineage is frightening.
I did not want to follow in any of those footsteps. I love my family, but I did not want to repeat any of their behaviors, interests, or lifestyles. Truthfully, though, I believed it was inescapable for me, simply because environment effects evolution, and sometimes it is hard not to become what you come from.
Oh, but God!
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SOURCE: Empowering Everyday Women – Lakeisha Rainey Collins