Practice What You Preach

More than once (more than a lot of times), I’ve gone on about how auditors need to be willing to take chances, be creative, take risks, look at life from a sideways perspective, recognize that the 30-year retirement watch isn’t as important as a belief in what they are doing, go for the things they really want.  

My, it is a nasty thing when such preaching comes back to haunt you.
I’ve got two kids. My wife and I are quite proud of them. (In their twenties and they actually act like adults. Not sure I pulled that off when I was their age.) Unfortunately for them, they managed to pick up some of my idiosyncrasies (no matter how hard their mother tried to battle it.) In my daughter’s case, one of the afflictions she inherited was my addiction to all things Disneyland. She has taken this to a level of which I could have only dreamed; she currently works at the park: Star Tours. (If you know anything about Disneyland, you know this is a pretty good gig.)
The Disney geek in me loves this. The parent in me cringes, worries, agonizes, distresses, laments, dreads, freaks, panics, frets, insert your own word for that parental gnawing on the fingernails that all parents do as they watch their children go forth into the world. Shouldn’t she get a real job? What kind of benefits is she getting? What is her future? How can she live that far from her mother and father?
All based on every parent’s ultimate worry – what will become of her?
And so, with the whispers and shouts of doubt and concern swirling around in my head, I have to take a step back/a step out, and remind myself of all those things I constantly advocate. I have to remember that I sincerely believe it is important for every person to find their dream and go for it, find their joy and pursue it, find their passion and live it.
And I have to remind myself about a guy who, over 30 years ago, kept on being a musician when it wasn’t necessarily the smart thing to do. Allow me an aside. 
After graduating, I had the opportunity to continue playing full time in a country-rock band that toured the state of Arizona. I did so for one year. A couple of years later, I joined another band as I went to college the second time. In both instances, these were my full-time jobs. No pension plans, no benefits, no paid vacation, no real future – just smoke-filled bars and the chance to play music.  
And, throughout that time, I received incredible support (moral and monetary – yes, a lot of monetary) from my parents. They recognized it was something I wanted to do, and they supported me 100%. (Well, maybe not 100% when it came to the shoulder-length hair – but they stayed quiet on that particular point.) Personally, a lot of good came from my playing with those bands (including meeting my wife of almost 30 years). But the point here is that, without their support, I would not have been able to follow an important dream that has contributed an inordinate amount to what I am today.
Which leads us back to our main story and the main question - how can I do less for my kids? The parent in me panics about the choices my daughter has made. But the entrepreneur, the advocate of people taking risks to get what they want, the person who spends his time proselytizing that people should reach for their own golden donut, the preacher who tells others that jobs have to be fun and being sideways to everyone else is the only way to achieve something great, that person – well, dad needs to step back and let the wild and crazy guy out. Because my daughter is indeed practicing the things I have been preaching.
This has all become more personal than I really intended, but there is a lesson here I will repeat. If you are going to stand for something , if you are going to be giving people advice (and what is it auditors really do other than constantly give people advice), if you are going to tell others how they can make their lives better, then you better be willing to live that life yourself. The words of the sermon come back to roost and I am reminded you have to practice what you preach, walk the talk, put up or shut up, back your beliefs with any cliché you can think of. 
Which is why, when I can get past the fears, I am truly proud of her. She is not listening to the parent in me, but somehow she picked up the other part – she is pursuing her dream.
She probably got that from her mother.

Posted on May 31, 2012 by Mike Jacka

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