THE SHUTTLESWORTH SENTINEL
201 Vulcan Road, Suite 210 Birmingham, AL 35209 (205) 322-1411 www.shuttlesworthlasseter.com
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SPENDING TIME AS A FAMILY REFLECTING ON A RAPIDLY APPROACHING FUTURE
If you have kids who are transitioning from high school to college, or from college to the workforce, you know that reflections on their futures don’t stop after the graduation caps fly. As I’ve had the chance to spend this summer with my daughters, the youngest of whom just graduated from high school, I really appreciate the time I get to spend with them and the opportunity to step back and reflect on where we are as a family. We’re definitely in a season of transition. My youngest daughter is moving on to college, my oldest daughter is starting her second year of college, and my wife and I are becoming empty nesters. Our daughters both have their entire lives and the entire world before them. But the world they’re entering expects them to make major life decisions by the time they’re 18, all while telling them they’re failing if they’re not “smart enough” or “beautiful enough” or whatever enough. And when they are in school, they are so busy focusing on day-to-day life — classes, schoolwork, and time with friends — that they don’t have time to really think about what the future may hold. “I HOPE THAT EACH OF MY DAUGHTERS DISCOVERS HOW TO USE THEIR UNIQUE SKILLS AND PASSIONS TO CONTRIBUTE VALUE TO THEIR COMMUNITY.” When I chose to go to law school, it was because I wanted to make money. I hadn’t grown up with a lot of it, and I didn’t want to be poor for the rest of my life. However, when I landed a position at a big corporate law firm, I looked around and realized pretty quickly I didn’t want to be there. For so long, I had chased what I thought I wanted, but I hadn’t ever really stopped and thought about it. I was lucky enough to
eventually find a job I enjoy. I know countless other adults, lawyers and non-lawyers alike, who, if they’re really honest, aren’t sure they enjoy their work. They just knew they needed a job and jumped to the first thing that checked their boxes. They never stopped to look around.
Ultimately, I hope my daughters take the time to experience different things and talk to people they admire this summer and while they’re in school. I want them to observe how to strike a balance between doing what they love and paying the bills. My wife and I can’t be the ones to show our daughters where to go in life — that decision is up to them. We can ask questions and teach them some basic skills, like budgeting and finance. Beyond that, it’s their ball game. I hope that each of my daughters discovers how to use their unique skills and passions to contribute value to their community. That’s what is important in the end — not that they live up to society’s standards for them, but that what they do leaves people better off than they were before. Even though we’ve already sent one kid to college, it didn’t make sending the next one off any easier. I don’t think it would become any easier if we had to do it 10 times! But I’m comforted to know that we can take time this summer to rest and reflect on the future inching ever closer.
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