17 September 2008

Feathers To Help You Fly

This morning we put our second son, Timothy, on the plane to return to the USA. We have done this on many occasions previously but this time it was different. In the past there was always a date on which he would return “home” and the time away wouldn’t be that long, six weeks at the most. The schedule is different now. He is returning to the States for at least six months and if all goes well he might be settling there for good. Wow, it is really strange to even write the words.

Timothy is certainly ready for this move. We are behind him completely and have confidence he will do well but it is still a very big step. He is going to the country in which he was born but in which he has lived for only a short time. He starts with no definite job and only a very small amount of “get by” money. He has a car, which was graciously given him but has very little experience driving and maintaining a car in the States. He has no definite long-term place to stay and he is mostly a stranger to the city in which he plans to settle initially, Nashville.

Fortunately, he is very qualified in two ways: he has a Masters degree in biotechnology and he writes songs, sings and plays guitar better than average (actually quite well!!). He enjoys biotech but music is where his heart is. He travels with a credible diploma in one hand and a properly recorded CD in the other. He’ll be trying his luck with the music industry and investigating biotech jobs at the same time. And, he will probably do a bit of scrub work until he can make a reasonable decision. Regardless the direction in which he goes he will need to make many strategic decisions within the first few weeks and that could be tricky.

All of these things together can make any person a bit nervous. The transition can be made but there are pitfalls. Everyone makes mistakes (even Tim – only a few) and that can frustrate a perfectly laid plan. As a parent I’m thinking, what advice can I give, not just generally but appropriate for his situation and this move? And, how can I say it all concisely. Long wordy statements are boring and the meaning is usually lost in the time it takes to read it. After a bit of thinking I came up with the following:

  • Keep right (on the road – you are in the USA not South Africa)
  • Keep a moderate pace (plan your time, don’t hurry – haste makes waste – developments take time)
  • Keep control (watch your money daily – live down at least for a while)

  • Keep your name (don’t accumulate debt)

  • Keep your balance (spend a little money sometimes and save a little always)

  • Keep a positive outlook (don’t let frustration or worry rule you)

  • Keep a cautious approach (don’t make impulsive decisions – study and think before you decide)

  • Keep listening (ask questions - don’t argue – don’t be defensive)

  • Keep your soul (don’t take the first bio-tech job offered)

  • Keep busy (find some kind of job right away)

  • Keep writing (thoughts, songs, web page, etc.)

  • Keep singing (you have an amazing gift)

  • Keep in touch (contact everyone - Skype, email – your mother is waiting to hear from you now)

  • Keep learning (you will never know everything)

  • Keep organized (if it needs to be done do it now)

  • Keep your distance (be civil to all, serve as many as you can but be committed to only a few – you’re not Got)

  • Keep changing (no one has arrived yet)

  • Keep praying (God is listening)

  • Keep secure (never forget we love you)

  • Keep believing (your music is powerful)

  • Keep focused (visualize where you want to go and do something every day to move in that direction)

  • Keep trying (every winner works through mistakes and upsets)

  • Keep right (think it every day, every time you get in the car – we won’t be there to remind you what side of the road to drive on)
To Tim
Timothy, in a sense you are being kicked out of the nest but only in a good way. All these “keep” phrases are just a few feathers that will help you fly and we’ll be watching as you do. This is a great season in your life and everyone is on your side. Keep your head up and keep moving forward.

I could have written more but by the time I finished you would be my age and writing to your kids. This will have to suffice for now. ThinkAboutIt.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Words to hold close to heart