There’s this song from my childhood that I sometimes sing. Usually when I know I am proving negative people wrong. Yep go me! This is part of the lyrics, feel free to sing along. It’s a Doris Day song called High Hopes.
Just what makes that little old ant
Think he’ll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can’t
Move a rubber tree plant
But he’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes
He’s got high apple pie, in the sky hopes
So, any time your gettin’ low
‘Stead of lettin’ go
Just remember that ant
Oops there goes another rubber tree plant
As a parent, I feel that I am at times that rubber tree plant. I have said no to my son’s dreams. I felt they were unrealistic and I discouraged him to avoid disappointment. All with much love and good intentions. I am still learning that he will move every rubber tree plant in the path he chooses.
Even as recently as twelve months ago; I was reassuring my son that he had no chance of being a professional racecar driver. While the whole time, he was uprooting that rubber tree plant. I actually am in awe of him. He trusts me. He listens to me and takes my advice on board. However, with the goal in sight and with high hopes there are times when he has decided he is just going to go for it. Well done my son.
The lad is nearly 18. He has invested much time in an online simulated racing game called iRacing. This is the most realistic car racing game ever developed and receives rave reviews from blooded professional drivers who regularly step up on the podium for Supercars and Formula 1.
Only two weeks ago, my son reached ‘B’ class. He is one class away from the Professional league. This is where he can earn money! Pfft there goes that rubber tree plant.
The race tracks are incredibly realistic and you can choose your cars and your livery. That’s industry jargon for the signage and colour theme on your car. My determined young man recently posted on his public Instagram page ClayNeedsNoMouldingRacingTeam that he has had his 9th win at Bathurst. This may be on a simulated online game but the skills and stamina required to race are significant. Peter Brock, the legend has the record for the most wins at Bathurst. Nine in fact. Now there is no comparison, as online racing removes the element of physical risk, but if you crash online you don’t have another life like some games. You have to pit in and there is a process to follow to repair your vehicle.
Under my very nose and certainly with not much fanfare my glorious son is pursuing the dreams I tisked tisked. Shame on me.
My man child does not spend his whole life gaming. He has just graduated from school. For the past two years we have supported him with the creating and operation of his own business. Clay is autistic. At 14 he started looking for a job. At 16, after no interviews, he started his own microbusiness. He cleans wheelie bins. That is honest, hard graft. He works hard with his bin cleaning business. He has fought to overcome or at least manage some of his sensory challenges. He has built up a good business with a loyal client base.
This business has funded the pursuit of his dreams. He has purchased a gaming laptop and the rig required to participate competitively. A steering wheel, shift stick and pedals. He has also traveled to Abu Dhabi for his schoolies week and attended his first Formula 1. Name one other kid in Australia who did that for their schoolies week.
Clay at no stage declared to us this was his mission. He just went for what he wanted. Singularly and with such gusto that makes me wonder how we ever doubted him. Instead, he got on with what he loves doing. At least I can confirm we have always supported and encouraged his pursuit of his passion. We financially supported him until he could afford to self fund the membership which is quite expensive.
Clay has other interests. He has friends and a girl friend. He loves hanging with them and seeing his cousins. He loves doof doof music. He loves having great adventures and jetty jumping. Clay is an all or nothing kid. Much like me, his Mum.
With remorse, I write this today to encourage other parents to not dismiss dreams that seem unrealistic. Encourage your child to pursue their passions. Ground them with the mundane tasks of life but don’t allow them to give up what might seem impossible. Let’s not be that rubber tree plant.
My husband and I have changed our mindset. We are no longer rubber tree plants. We are his biggest fans and love and share his excitement of every win and step closer to reaching the Pro league.
It’s important to remember that even five years ago gaming was not seen as a career. Now there are events in massive stadiums to watch gaming. This is big business. It draws in a huge demographic of people. There are many opportunities for sponsorship and of course the big fat pay cheque for the winners. I have been writing never say never for a long time and yet I have not been practicing it. I hope this is the last time I will need to confess.
© Laura Lewis 2020