Dear Oldest Daughter, Hold on to Your Passion

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So let’s do this.

It’s a whole lot easier for me to write it instead of say it. With you. With Momma I can just say it, but with you it’s different. You like to read, and I like to write. That’s our thing right? Written words connect us and DNA too. There’ll always be that DNA thing.

I’m asking you to trust me again. Just like the last time, only different. Different because this time it has nothing to do with boys or hormones. The same because it has everything to do with your future.

You don’t even know that I know about it yet because I got home from practice after you had already been in bed for three hours. I saw it on Facebook and Momma got me up to speed early this morning. I get it. You want with all of your being to study music. It’s your passion. It’s your dream. It’s your future, and you feel like before you’ve even had a chance it’s already been ripped from your piano playing hands.

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Photo Credit: alongfortheride.♥ via Compfight cc

I get it. If they wouldn’t have held you back, then you would be in the right turma. If you would have known this or that sooner, you could have done whatever. I get it. I do.

I know the news that you got from one music theory teacher at the tiny music school in the aldeia wasn’t what you wanted to hear, but before you turn me off, let me assure you that I’m not going to tell you some silly antiquated story about what happened in my life. I’m not going the barefoot in the snow both ways uphill, up at 4:30 to milk the cows, I sewed my own clothes route. I’m not.

Promise.

Here’s why. ‘Cause it’s unproductive in most cases, even if it is true. And, ’cause by the time I was sixteen I had already failed every future professional placement survey that I had been given. Everybody told me that I was supposed to know what I wanted to do with my life. I was sixteen. I wanted to listen to the Black Crowes or Bob Mould and finish The Fountainhead. I stressed out way too much because everybody said that I had to know what I wanted to do with my life.

Sixteen. I was sixteen.

I had no idea what I wanted to do, and no silly survey could decide that for me. I was going to college, sure, but Coach Harmon and Gramps made sure that I never even thought about being a teacher and coach. There’s no money in it, they said. (That was before Nick Saban became the $7 million a year coaching juggernaut. That was about the time that Gus Malzahn was doing a terrible job break-dancing to “Can’t Touch This.” For you, that’s the tune that I used to pen the words to the spankin-time song.) It’s probably better because I probably would’ve have starved us by not making any money…just like Coach Harmon and Gramps said.

Anyway, I’m not telling you about how I overcame insurmountable odds and defied conventional wisdom to be some great mogul.

I’m not going to give you the from humble beginnings success story.

See, you’ve already got one up on the sixteen year old me. You’ve got one up on the eighteen year old me. You’ve got one up on the thrirty-nine year old me.

You’ve got a dream.

Now, I promised that I wouldn’t tell you that story, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to step down outta Dad-land. Trust me on this. Trust me on what I’m about to tell you. I know what I’m talking about. So, let’s list ‘em out and then you can go listen to Britt Nicole while you clean your room. Yeah, cleaning your room would be a good idea.

First, let music be your passion, and hold on to it. Hold on tight like you used to hold on to that goofy red beret a few years ago. Man, I’m glad that fashion phase is gone.

But, music, now that’s a different story. Don’t let anyone ever take that away from you. God gave you an amazing gift. No music teacher, no matter how knowledgeable…or not, can take that from you. Just because you may not be able to follow the path that everyone else will follow doesn’t mean that you have to throw away your passion. Purpose, no matter what, purpose—I say determine to always connect your passion with worship. Whenever I do something that I really love to do, whether it’s in front of a bunch of people or all by my lonesome, I worship God for the opportunity that He gave me to do that. I thank Him for it because He didn’t have to let me have that, but He did. You can do that too. No matter what turma you’re in. Don’t let the wet blankets of this world douse the fire that our wonderful Creator lit in you. Fuse your passion with your worship and wait for God to open a door. Wait for Him to give you a stage.

Secondly, get this—you don’t have to play their game. You don’t have to play by their rules. If you truly want to be an artist, a musician, a poet…whatever, you need to walk to your own beat. Blaze your own trail, and make people go, “I wish that we would’ve accepted her.” Michael Jordan didn’t make the varsity basketball team when he was in the tenth grade. Look it up. Jesus never went to seminary. Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because they said he lacked imagination. What? I mean, really? Steve Jobs got fired from his own company! So, he went and built up another company (Pixar. You know the one that made Toy Story and Monsters, Inc?) until they begged him to come back. Be the one that everyone was wrong about. Don’t settle for being the next Sarah Groves. Be the first Brooklyn. One name it. Be so good at what you do that they only call you by one name. And make sure everyone knows that you serve a man that goes by one name too.

As always, be honest. Do right. Treat everyone with respect, but do it up right. Do it your way, and make them regret their missed opportunity on you instead of sitting around thinking that you’ve missed their opportunity.

Finally, life’s not fair. I’ll never tell you it is, and if someone else tries to pawn that lie to you, you’ve got my permission to laugh. Politely and spontaneously, but get a good belly laugh out of it. Life stinks. It’s tough. Approval of others doesn’t guarantee happiness or success, and assigning blame doesn’t change anything. Assigning blame only wastes your time and validates someone else’s hold on you. Bookin, don’t spend time on regrets that are beyond your control. Because when you’re about to turn forty, you’re real regret will be that you’ve wasted time on stuff that really doesn’t matter.

Oh yeah, and after you clean you’re room, get ready for church.

About the Author

Michael Andrzejewski

Michael Andrzejewski is a missionary in western Europe who loves to share his stories. An introvert by nature, he swims upstream while struggling to pastor cross-culturally. Passionate about both the Gospel and football, he constantly searches for really good sushi.

  • Paul Andrzejewski

    Avery well written compilation about life and advice from Dad to Daughter Michael I am very proud of you and your written expertise. We love you I hope Bookin takes your advice Love Dad

  • angie sides

    micheal I sit here with tears in my eyes as ive heard basically the same speech from my father…. and a lot of naysayers along the way have tried their best to steer me from my dreams… I am grateful that you have a loving insightful heart and even more grateful that you are able to pass it on to you children in words of wisdom that you just did… thanks.. it would be great if everyone would learn to stop trampling on others dreams.. if you aren’t interested in helping them achieve them.. at least don’t try to defeat the dream before they’ve give it all they got.. say what you will but god sent me this message through you as well as your daughter…. thanks for obeying and making it all plain to see.

    • Angie, what a world that would be if we didn’t trample one another’s dreams. I’ve been guilty of it in the past and sure don’t want to be an agent of it in the future. Have a wonderful day.