As number two son readies himself to leave home next week and head off on his new adventure in college, I have several wishes for him. I hope that he commits himself to learning everything he can possibly learn. I hope that he hits the shit out of the ball and has an amazing college baseball career. And more than anything, I hope that he develops friendships that he will carry with him for the rest of his life.
First and foremost, it’s about the education, right? I’ve always felt that a college education is about way more than books, labs, and term papers. Of course I want him to gain the knowledge needed to have a long and prosperous career, but there is so much more than that to learn. Compared to many people his age, I feel that he’s already got a fairly broad base of general knowledge. However, it’s not enough. Can we ever have enough knowledge? Of course not. I hope that he takes the general education courses seriously and soaks in as much information as his still young brain can handle.
In a conversation with number one son the other day, he referenced a Conan O’Brien quote that he told me was very popular with people his age about cynicism. He said he has the quote printed out and keeps it on his desk. He then said, “I hope I never get so cynical, Dad, that I stop wanting to read and learn new things.” It made me want to hug him but I restrained myself to avoid an embarrassing moment. Here is part of the quote and the video clip.
To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I’ll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere.
Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
Learning and soaking in new ideas and concepts in college doesn’t end when you leave the classroom though, does it? No, he’s going to learn how to take care of himself without our help, how to cook, clean, do laundry, manage his time without anyone there to back him up. He’s going to learn how to prioritize his time and how to make responsible decisions. He’s going to learn about different cultures and how to better accept people as they are. Everyone’s family and upbringing is different. It’s partly what makes the world such an interesting place. We don’t all have to agree on every last thing. He’ll learn to accept people as they are and how to avoid the people that are a problem. I’ve always felt that the social learning we do in college is equally as important in life as all that “fancy book learning.”
I’ve already written about the baseball so won’t go into it again. You can check it out here if you missed it.
All of this brings me to friendships. I wrote a Facebook post a few years ago when number one son went off to college. I was trying to find it so I could post it here but with no luck. Here’s the gist of it. If my kids are even half as lucky with their friendships as I was in college then they will be in great shape. The friends I made at UB are still my best and closest friends, thirty plus years later. I have friends from other parts of my life but with only one exception(looking at you, Mr. L), they are not the same types of relationships. We were together at a special time in our lives and the experiences we shared forged our friendships in steel. More than anything, I want the boys to have that same gift.
On a lighter note, if you can tell me where I stole the title to this blog from without looking it up, I’ll buy you a beer.