Opinion: The things my father taught me

From a very young age, my dad had always instilled in me the idea that success in life is achieved by “preparation meeting opportunity.”

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The little things our parents tell us as kids are often some of the most fundamental parts of who we become. Credit: Unsplash Images

From a very young age, my dad had always instilled in me the idea that success in life is achieved by “preparation meeting opportunity.” For a while, I had lived my life by this quote and made sure that I made my father proud. I mean, what else was there to do when you are a daddy’s girl? This quote helped me through my darkest times and allowed me to feel confident in making the decision to attend Canisius College. Yet, after going through my first semester of college I have come to look back at this quote in a different way.

When my father first started reciting this quote he would normally bring it up to me right before I took a test or right before a concert (because I had played violin most of my adolescence and high school career). While these words were encouraging at the time because it made me feel that I deserved the moment I was currently in and that I should look at how much work I put in for this one special moment. I found that coming to college meant I had to reevaluate a lot of my values and things that my parents taught me.

Neither of my parents went to college in a traditional setting: my mom attended Erie Community College and earned her associates in accounting and my dad had earned a certificate for dental work while fighting in the Gulf War in the ‘90s. This means that I am a first-generation college student and that my parents have absolutely no idea the kind of experience or education I would be getting, especially now that I decided to attend a private Jesuit institution. Though they have tried to understand the new pressures I am going through, it is an experience that they do not know about and cannot ever understand. 

So when I entered into Canisius College I soon realized that I was in a different ball game and league of my own where I had to reassess what I thought I knew and what I was now being exposed to. My dad was right for a short amount of time that “preparation meeting opportunity” is the way to great success, but on my own, I had figured out that success did not look the same for everyone. That meant I had to deconstruct an entire belief system in which I no longer had to simply prepare, but I had to be aware, constantly there, and never compare.

My opportunities were no longer waiting for me to show up and collect because life had it laid out for me. I now had to be the go-getter for my own happiness and success. Canisius has shown me a way that invigorates me to learn more and explore positions that I never thought I would have. A short time ago I would have never thought I would have different thoughts than my parents, but each day that passes at Canisius I gain a little more insight into having the conversations that I want to be having and that is something I appreciate above all else.

All in all, my father had helped me understand my true potential to graciously accept the success that had been given to me, but through that, I was able to broaden my own views and discover that I can make my own pathway for myself and not live with my father’s concept of success. That is because the future is forever changing and with it so am I, to which I can say confidently, success is not always achieved through “preparation meeting opportunity,” but allowing yourself to be there in the moment eager to learn more than you did the next day.

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