Children are all naturally intuitive. They have more dreams and fewer doubts. They play games. They pretend and role play. Become leaders in their class. Create, sketch, or draw. Some can make others laugh. Excel in sports. And of course, bookworms. The English poet Wordsworth wrote that "the child is father of the man". In other words, children are always searching for clues to find their passion.
As time passes, children receives “guidance” from parents, teachers, counselors, friends, mentors, writes, poets, and other people. Some of these guidance may be fueled by what is acceptable by society, the norm. Constant reinforcement dims a child's dreams. By the time children become adults, began thinking about how they would earn their living, they had received considerable advice that may have led them further away from their real desires.
Sadly, I've been there and done that. When I didn't pass my third interview going into Harvard, I wasn't sad at all. Harvard is one of those schools with multiple interviews. They include individual and group interviews, along with a case study and a final essay. Besides the lengthy interview, the tuition cost was and will always be on the high side and Harvard students were pretty boring too!
So, I settled for less and went to a state school instead. The University of Massachusetts seemed like a good idea at the time. But that wasn't enough for my parents. They had to think about continuing the family business. Being the eldest child, I felt that I had the obligation to fulfill my parents' dream and make them proud. After finishing my undergraduate study, I went on a four year journey to a graduate school and got my degree as an Optometrist. I became fully licensed when I finally passed the Board Exam. I was full of energy and ready to take over the business.
Unfortunately, the next two years underperformed my expectations. Of course, seeing patients and performing eye exams were fun. But, I had no passion. I was working to simply get by and paying the bills. I felt bored everyday. It was as though I was living someone else's life.
What can I do?
I began my journey with a backward glance. I scouted around my childhood. What were the things that I liked to do? What made me happy? Then, I remembered that I used to fantasize about being a teacher. When I was eight, I'd bring my dad's old briefcase and filled it with books, papers, and pencils. I'd have a small blackboard with colored chalks and I'd have my bears and dolls act as the students of my class. I got even more excited when I remembered I had some volunteer and teaching experience with both children and adults back in my High School and College days. So the next step was where could I teach? How can I challenge myself? I could work for a school close to home but that would probably lead to me another miserable experience. Before my grandpa passed away, he told me that I needed to see China at least once in my life. He said "that is where your roots were born".
So, I decided to teach in China.
Up to the day of this writing, I still teach children. I help them excel and pursue their dreams and passions. I inspire them. I feel blessed to be surrounded by them. I'm learning a lot from them. There is nothing more I would ask for.
What's the lesson here? Every decisions have consequences. Life have drawdowns and setbacks. But passion keeps us from lying still when we fall. Passion ignites our brain to solve a problem. Passion leads to self discovery. Passion is what got me here today. Passion makes me who I am. As for my mom...she is prouder of her son than ever before. And I miss my old man. I will see him again one day. Also, don't worry about the family business, my brother is taking care of that. Last time we talked, he mentioned how hard it is to live as someone else. Well, I said: "That is your homework!"