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Dear Max, You Were Right All Along. Love, Dad
July 11, 2011
Written By: Russell Jensen

I just hate those times when I am so utterly, totally, obviously, hilariously wrong.  And if this were a Facebook post I would have ten comments from family and friends in no time flat saying something like “you mean there are times you aren’t?”  Ugh.

 

My son Max wanted to grow up to play baseball for the Atlanta Braves like his hero Chipper Jones.  He wore number 10 like Chipper.  He wore his uniform pants and socks like Chipper.  He was often the first one on the team to get his uniform dirty, like Chipper.  But few people are blessed with that kind of athletic ability.  Now a college sophomore, he instead wants to change his major to Non-Profit Management and work in a non-profit.  I, of course, have been trying to talk him out of it.*  

* If you’re in a hurry you can leave now, because the rest of this post will play out exactly like you expect it to!  

Yes, I’m proud of him.  Serving others through church, community activities and philanthropy is important to our family.  We try to put our time and treasure where our values are, and have generally done a pretty good job of living those values.  But as a concerned father I’ve been encouraging him to not change his major, which I see as narrowing his options later.  After all, those non-profits won’t turn you away if you have a good, old fashioned business degree, will they?  

A recent Roundtable conversation caused me to realize what a dope I’ve been.  A room full of CEOs and senior execs was calling out one member on his passion.  The gist of the conversation was that if he wasn’t passionate about what he was doing and about leading the business through the challenges ahead, he needed to figure out what he was passionate about and leave to go do that.  There was no sugar coating, and the feedback was unanimous.  I loved it; how invigorating and affirming to hear talented, successful business leaders say that without passion all you’re doing is going through the motions. 

And then I remembered my not-so-sage advice to my son.  He has discovered his passion, he wants to pursue it, and I’m trying to talk him out of it.  Ugh.  

I’ll close with this.  How is your passion meter?  Are you just going through the motions?  Is it time for you to find a friend, mentor or colleague and challenge one another on your passion and commitment?  Give it some thought, this is important.   And Max, you were right all along.  Change your major.  Go change the world.  You’ll do great things.  Love, Dad.


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