Saturday, June 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Calvin

My youngest son is turning 15 tomorrow. I've spent this past week just watching him and I have tried to talk with him about his dreams and aspirations. He plays the bass guitar and wants to pursue music, which I am all for. I have always maintained that is more important to love what you do in life than be financially well off. If he wants to write poetry and work at 7-11 then more power to him. I know this probably makes me a horrible parent. I should push him to be successful (money wise) but since I don't really have much ambition in that direction I think it would be a bit hypocritic of me to push him that way. We go around once in this life and I want him to be happy during his trip. We talked about different ways he can be involved in music and the various options. I've tried to encourage him to seek the help of his school counselor for advise on how to proceed with his dream. I think as time goes on he will find his direction. While thinking about Calvin I got to thinking about myself when I was his age. The kitchen has proved to be a place of salvation for me. I can honestly say that if it wasn't for the restaurant business I would have had no direction for my life. I would have graduated from high school and not done much past that. I don't think I would have gone to collage, in fact, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have. The kitchen saved me and gave me direction. For the past 25+ years I have had a clear path set before me because of cooking. Though I speak for myself but I know it to be a fact that cooking has been the salvation of many people. Cooking became the paradigm for life for me early on. I learned about life and living in the kitchen. I found a brotherhood amongst the those of us who sweat and toil in it's heat. I learned that no matter whether we are lowly prep cooks or world class chefs, we are in the end, just cooks and that is what makes us equal. I learned that the kitchen is the great equalizer, and everything that happens in that sacred space is entirely up to each person who steps into it. The kitchen proves hard work can make up for lack of talent. It teaches us patience, endurance, and humility. I learned to take pride in what I do and if I don't it will be obvious. I am grateful I have spent most of my life behind stoves and in the heat. I am grateful for the good work ethic I learned at the hands of hard chefs. I am grateful I learned to express my dreams and hopes through food. My son is 15 tomorrow. Though he might not know where life is leading him just this yet, I am confident he will find his path if he follows his dreams. I hope I can help him fulfill his dreams if by no other way than by showing him by example that if he loves something and has a passion for it he will find happiness.

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