My son is not a big fan of our fire pit. When he was a little kid, he used to love it. I would tell him all kinds of scary stories as the only noises to be heard were crickets and the crackling fire. Those crackles would make his skin jump at times. Now, something else makes his skin jump. Since he’s just about to graduate high school, he knows he’s going to be hearing – not listening – to a lot of advice from me. This is especially the case since I recently heard what he wants to do for a living. Believe it or not, he wants to be a video game player. No, this is not a joke. There are actually people who play video games for pay, to see what works and does not work in the game. They also rate how enjoyable and playable the game is. This might be a good gig for a few years, but since it pays by the hour – and not very much – it doesn’t seem like a long-term option.

This is a difficult spot for me. As a kid, I told my father I wanted to be a writer. He said, “There goes your future,” and later refused to pay my way for college. So, I had to go the Liberal Arts route. This ended up being an 11-year setback. I don’t want to do the same thing to my kid. I want him to do what he loves. It’s possible that being a video game player/tester can lead to something else bigger and better. Or, maybe the pay for that ‘profession’ will increase.

These are all topics my son and I discussed around the fire pit a few nights ago. My argument was that he should look into a vocational trade school. I firmly believe that video games are popular because they offer instant gratification. That being the case, he would make more money and get the same type of satisfaction if he became an Information Technology (IT) professional. This is the point I tried to make several times as we passed a large jug of Gatorade back and forth while sitting close to the fire pit.

My son made his defense that passion and enjoyment were more important to him than level of income. This was an expected response, especially coming from someone without any kids. He also explained that he didn’t even know what a vocational school was, only that he heard of them. I went on to explain that it was a school designed to focus on one trade, so you would become an expert at it in a short period of time.

The conversation eventually ended with my son throwing the rest of the Gatorade into the fire pit and storming away. On the surface, this might sound like a loss for me. But I know my son. When he knows I have a point, he gets irritated and reacts that way. The next day, or possibly even a few hours later, he will come to his senses and admit defeat. I just hope he makes the right decision. And there’s no guarantee that my advice is correct.

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