Today my oldest son is starting a summer job. It’s new work for him. I can tell that he is a bit nervous. If it were me, I’d be trying to suppress my nerves a bit. I’d be worried. Will I know enough? Will I be able to help? Will I look stupid? Will they make fun of me? These are silly questions in so many ways. But silly doesn’t make them not true either.
As dad, I’m proud of my son. Way to go! Contribute. Make some money. Take your place in another stage of adult life. Use your skills. Use your gifts. Learn some skills and learn some gifts. Be supportive of others. All of these thoughts are in play. When my son and I talked last night, we spoke about all of these things.
And yet, the nerves remain. You can’t have all of the answers prior to going in. This fact points out a rather obvious but often denied reality — complete certainty and predictability is a myth! It’s what many of us seek, mostly unknowingly. I know that fear / response combo in me. But it’s not our perfect preparation for every imaginable encounter that is the most needed skill. Sometimes, I suppose. But more often, and more often neglected, the skill we need is the ability to adapt. To work with what is and to work with what shows up.
After all of that good advice to work hard (that’s what I was told when I was a teenager and young adult) and put in a good day’s work — all of which matter — I realized this morning that the “advice” I woke up with for my son is rather simple. Make some friends. If you make some friends, you’ll find your way into the good of the work, and perhaps find your way through some of the not-so-fun in the work. If you make some friends you can be in some good learning together — about the job and about each others lives. If you make some friends, you can enjoy what you are creating together.
Well, here’s to a good day for my son in his learning and making friends. And here’s to all of us learning to be well with each others in life’s many uncertainties and newnesses.