Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs on Earth but it is also incredibly rewarding and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. These past few weeks have been exciting as I witnessed my youngest son Justin make his Catholic Confirmation and my eldest son Matthew graduate from High School. Shane didn’t celebrate any personal milestones but he is busy preparing for his senior year of high school and is indulging his creativity by writing video game reviews and publishing his artwork online (links listed below). My wife and I have been with them for every step of their respective journeys and we could not be more proud of these young men.

As I reflect on their progress, I feel that this is an opportune moment to help them focus on the future. Time is very much like a freight train with no breaks and the future is always upon us whether we like it or not. The only question that need concern any of us is what future do we envision for ourselves? It is never too early to start planning for your future and this planning phase is one that many of us take for granted in our youth. Planning and training are the two most important components in human development although planning can be much more difficult sometimes. Training seems to be the easy part and it is something that each of us do on a daily basis from the day that we are born. From infancy, our parents start training us how and when to eat and sleep. As our brains continue to develop, we learn new skills like how to walk, talk, read, and write. Our training goes on for years and years and we learn the necessary life skills from our parents, family, siblings, teachers and coaches. Boys learn how to mow the lawn or change the oil in Dad’s car while young girls learn tasks that are more specific to their gender. Generally speaking, we learn these skills by observing and assisting others but there are still other skills that we may learn or perfect on our own as we interact with the world around us. All of our training actually teaches us how to learn and eventually acquire skills on our own.

The ability to plan and prepare are two key skills that elude many people or are simply regarded as unnecessary but I assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. Planning and preparation are essential tools to have in one’s toolbox and they can mean the difference between a life of mediocrity and one of fulfilled potential. The road to success is infinite and we must each decide how far we are willing to travel on that road to achieve our individual goals. Preparing for this journey of success means setting goals for oneself and defining dreams and aspirations. These initial goals, dreams, and aspirations will only get you so far on the road of success but there will always be new ones for those that are brave enough and strong enough to continue. As quoted by famous martial artist Bruce Lee “If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them”.  There have been many times in my life when I failed to share my own dreams for fear of ridicule or potential failure but those fears were only in my mind. In the song “The River” by Bruce Springsteen, he sang the words “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true? Or is it something worse?”.  To my sons I say, have faith in your dreams and know that there is nothing worse than not chasing after them. Plan and prepare for your future and success. Never be afraid to fail… afraid not to try.

Shane’s gaming and artwork pages