My summer intern, Parker, worked his final day with us last Friday.
It was refreshing to have someone in my “space” born only 21 years ago. It was obvious from Day One that Parker had been raised to work hard and respect others. I did not meet his mom, but I think I’d like her an awful lot.
Having Parker around for 6 or 7 weeks reminded me of another young man and his parent.
It was several years ago that I received an email from a gentleman inquiring about internships in agricultural communications for his son. “What possibilities exist for a young person?” he asked. “My son, Jared, will graduate from high school next year. He has been accepted to a university, and intends on pursing studies in Communication and Journalism. Along with athletics, public speaking through high school was a passion. Speech writing, announcing, yearbook, etc. all have come naturally for Jared. A true ‘farm-kid’, with a love of agriculture, and post-college plans to not only live and work in rural Missouri, but to give back to the communities that have given to him.”
You may laugh at the comparison, but as I read this missive from a loving and proud father, I thought of the goose that flaps her wings and runs toward me as I walk closer to her nest near the pond. Or, the cow who bawls for her calf that ran over the hill with his “buddies” so she can no longer see or smell him. Parenting is the most important thing you can do.
Upon receipt of the inquiry from Jared’s dad, I responded with a few suggestions and an offer to meet with Jared. There are few things that bring me greater satisfaction than helping a young person find his or her way in life. Their enthusiasm and hunger to learn can be inspiring. It is especially satisfying when a young person shows an interest in telling the story of agriculture and rural life. Many times young people are discouraged to pursue a career in the field of journalism (radio or print) by adults who tell them there is no money in it. I was touched by the support that Jared’s dad was showing for his son to follow Jared’s dream – not necessarily Jared’s dad’s dream.
Checking my email inbox a few days later, I found a response to my note from Jared’s dad. Along with thanking me for my advice and offer to meet with his son, he apologized twice for “being a parent.” He was afraid that perhaps he had crossed the line; that perhaps it should have been his son who made contact with me.
There are so many parents out there who don’t give a rip about their kids’ dreams, that when I see or hear from a parent who wants to help his child move into the next phase of his or her life, I want to jump for joy. Never be sorry for caring. When I see that goose come running over the bank of the pond, wings spread and flapping to frighten away predators, I appreciate the unconditional love and support that is instinctive in so many of God’s creatures.