Reader’s question: I’m writing about my son who wants to be a ballet dancer. Ballerina, can you believe it! I have always raised him and given him precise directions on what to do: practice some sport, instead of listening to classical music… and the very thought of those leotards, oh, it’s killing me! I took him everywhere in order to set him good examples, and in the end, I got a ballet dancer! This thing is getting really serious. He won’t yield, the one thing he did learn from me, but I won’t allow it, not under my roof! As long as he’s living in my house, he is to behave properly.
Almost everybody has heard about it, and they are looking at me with different eyes. I know that my friends and relatives make fun of me. He makes my toes curl. But I won’t lie if I say that I am angry and furious because he did this to me. I started withdrawing from my friends. I walk with my head bowed. Never would I have imagined that I would live to see this shame. How could have this happened to me!? This is a disaster!
Answer from our life expert: Mr. Father, I absolutely agree with you on one thing: this is a disaster! It’s a disaster that your son has a father like you! I’m kidding; I’m just joking, do not flush right away! Or am I?
I’ve read your ‘problem’ several times, and I cannot get over the impression that your son actually inherited the artistic genes from you. I apologize to him in advance if he finds himself insulted. I’m sensing you are boiling again! But, it is so obvious. You love shows, but as far as you direct them and have complete control over the acting process, all in order to get the much-desired applause from the audience (read: relatives and friends). That way, you will get confirmation of your worth; the success is all yours and yours only, Mr. Father! It doesn’t matter that actors are left with the feeling of unhappiness and frustration when the curtains fall. But they don’t matter anyway; this is YOUR show! The moment bringing you euphoria is suddenly taken away from you. Someone else dares to become the director of their life! What audacity and disrespect for your desires and fantasies of a life worth admiring and envying by all!
I guess you’re hearing gossip around you; in fact, wherever you go, you think that everyone is talking about you, making fun of you because your son wants to be a ballet dancer. You are slowly becoming anxious and a little paranoid! Imagine, they’re probably saying that you, as an alpha male, are not able to control your family. What a shame! But you cannot be serious, Mr. Father, wanting to provoke sympathy and support in this way! It’s a little bit irrational.
From your writing, what caught my eye especially was the expression “under my roof”. I can notice you have a strong sense of ownership of objects and living people too. The home you built or inherited (it doesn’t matter), is YOURS. The lives of others are at your mercy if they want to keep the roof over their head. How ingenious!
Mr. Father, let me tell you one simple truth I thought everyone already knew, but you seem to be an exception. You can have an influence on building someone’s personality, but you cannot control it. If you are ‘creating’ life, because you obviously love the idea of an almighty creator, you should get to know your creation first, show interest in his interests, and not just impose your projections and directions on him. Let me make it easy for you: no one, and I mean no one, should be guided by your ideas. If you choose to take off your blinders for little, you will see that there are other concepts, both of life and of success. Just because YOU can’t see them, it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.
Finally, one tiny piece of advice, Mr. Father! Since you are already inclined to perform, let the next one be according to YOUR SON’S script, so you can do a project where you can be all happy. Imagine having a role in your son’s dreams becoming reality. Instead of losing the most important person in your life, which obviously is not the audience (read: relatives and friends who will forget you at the first turn), you will get friendship by virtue, which is the only valid one and lasts forever.