When I was young, I was lucky to have a dad to look up to. He was encouraging whenever I failed, and would challenge me when I needed guidance. At times, I used to think he was too hard on me. I remember whenever I was on a team playing sports(especially if he was coaching), I’d always get told to hustle, run, or just ‘try harder’ more than anyone else. I would think it was mean, unfair, and wrong. Why was he pushing me so hard, when everyone else got off easy?
That kind of guidance was taken to pretty much everything I got involved in growing up, but school was where it took the most out of me. There are so many pressures you have to deal with inside of school, that an extra layer outside of it added from my parents seemed like way too much. Whenever the pressure got to be too much, I closed up and stopped doing the things I enjoyed. And sometimes I’d veer so far off from these things—that I’d get into trouble with friends that I thought were doing cooler things.
I saw this wonderful film called The Mask You Live In a couple weeks ago, which instantly brought me back to thinking of my life growing up. When we’re young, we can be easily influenced—by media, by parents, and by other people. It’s unfortunate that I felt so pressured at those times in my life, like a lot of other people. Other than my parents, there wasn’t a lot of places to turn, and after seeing that film—I realized we need a lot more positive thinking on how to deal with similar issues. So I have some advice for young boys growing up today—things I hope someone would have told me when I was young.
Express who you are and hold your dreams close.
It’s something that sounds so simple, but it gets harder and harder as the things in your life challenge them. If you know yourself, and what you really believe in—you can rely on those things whenever someone or something shakes them.
Don’t shy away from guidance.
It wasn’t until I finished high school that I realized why they pushed me so much. Outside of school, I quickly learned that life isn’t easy. Especially when you have to take care of yourself—finding your own job, paying expenses, and dealing with things in your own life. I realized that, the more I was challenged, the more I believed in myself once I got through things. I’d actually feel more energized to take on even more challenging things. If I wasn’t challenged, I was much more likely to slack off and let things pass me by.
Find a way to do the things you believe in.
I constantly fight with that still—striking a balance between challenging myself and pushing myself too hard. I have felt burned out before, and it often stems from promising too many things or getting involved in things that I don’t believe in. The more I try doing things I care about though—the more things I feel like I can accomplish successfully. Then I can move onto more exciting things!