Millennial Musing
August 8, 2017
Living up to your parents’ expectations

When you’re a child, one of the most popular questions you’re asked is “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We usually give the cliché professions such as doctor, lawyer, nurse, prime minister, pilot etc. When you’re a child, as far as you know, anything is possible and the world is your oyster.

I remember changing my desired profession at least once per month as a child. The changes could be based on a particular movie I watched, or an exciting life experience. My family persuaded me to dream as big as my imagination would allow. As far as I was concerned, if I worked hard enough I could become anything.

So many children have these dreams and yet so few adults live their dreams. Why the large discrepancy? Shouldn’t our drive carry forward into adulthood? However, there is something I haven’t mentioned: a huge roadblock called reality.

Reality is the killer of dreams and aspirations. It usually comes in the form of self-doubt, poverty, abuse and so much more. However, during my time at university I’ve found another culprit: our parents.

I look around me and I see so many students pursuing their parents’ dreams. The more I listen to them, the more I realize they hate their degree; truth be told it wasn’t even their first choice. So, why pick a degree you’re not passionate about? To please your parents, of course.

This might seem silly to you; it’s not like someone put a gun to their head and made them attend law school or medical school, but the pressure to please your parents is a lot similar to peer pressure. You just want to make them happy; you want to repay them for taking good care of you. Often- times the parents aren’t even cognizant that they’re pressuring their children.

The parents often have some unrealized dream of their own. Perhaps they always wanted to be a doctor, but never had the finances, or a lawyer but never had the grades or discipline. They dissuade you from following your passions by threatening to cut you off financially or they belittle your chosen career field. They honestly just want to you be better off than they were; it does not come from a place of malice.

There are some of us who know this pressure. This desire to please our family, but I want you to ask yourself this: “Can I really do this for the rest of my life?”

Think about waking up every day to do a job you hate for the rest of your life. Think about paying back $60,000 in student loans for 10 years after finishing your degree. Think about setting back your life an entire decade paying for a degree you never wanted.

I understand you want your parents to be proud of you, but ultimately they want you to be happy and well taken care of. They want you to be financially stable when they pass away. Living your life in a career you hate just to appease them is not worth it. They might be disappointed, but you don’t deserve to suffer.

People say that life is short, but it can also be very long. This is your life and you deserve to be happy, never forget that.