The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

The Future Has Different Rules …

As I’ve written before, I didn’t go to University. I knew pretty early on that I didn’t want to continue my formal education.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t/don’t like to learn, it just means I find it far more powerful when it’s not in an academic environment.

I still remember telling my parents my decision and being slightly scared.

They desperately wanted me to go so I was worried they would see this as a slight on them – which is absolutely not what it was meant to be.

They asked for my reasons and when I told them, they said that they would support my decision as long as I applied in case I changed my mind.

So I did.

And I got accepted.

But I was still sure not going was the right thing for me, so my parents – while obviously disappointed – supported my decision and never brought it up again.

Looking back now, I feel that must have been very hard for them.

At that point, going to university was the fast track to a career and yet – as another act of their love and confidence in me – they pushed me to follow the things that genuinely interested and excited me and hoped it would all work out.

I’d say it did.

But now I’m a dad and while Otis is only 3, the thought of education looms large.

Would I do the same thing as him?

Of course I want to help equip my son in the best way possible for the life he wants to lead and one of those ways is to provide him with a good education. But the fact is I’m vehemently opposed to private education and while general access schools can be very good, the reality is private tends to offer better opportunities simply because of the funding and the facilities … which leads to an interesting conflict.

What’s best for my son versus what’s true to me?

Given Otis is so young right now, the decision will ultimately be mine and his Mum’s, but once he’s older, what do I do if he chooses a path I feel is not in his best interests.

Sure, it worked out for me, but the World was different back then and then I saw the ‘god’ instagram above – a sentiment that was absolutely reinforced by our recent America In The Raw research – and realised that by the time he has to make some choices, he will be far more aware of what he needs to do to increase his odds of success than his Mum or me.

But then I realised something else …

It’s not just about acknowledging their view of their World will be better than yours, it’s also backing your parenting.

When my Mum and Dad supported my decision, they were ultimately supporting how they raised me.

They believed the values and smarts they’d instilled in me were the right ones to enable me to make the right choices … and while I know they would have been there if it all fell down, that sense of confidence and belief probably enabled me to go to places I might otherwise not have done. Places I might not otherwise have felt I deserved to be.

And that’s why backing your team is everything.

Of course you have to instill values and standards into them, but once that’s done, you have to back them including what they think is right – even if you don’t – because if that doesn’t happen, you’re literally stopping their potential rather than liberating it.

Thank you Mum and Dad. Again.

21 Comments so far
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My children may be alarmed to learn you and your parents have taught me a lot about parenting. This post is a perfect example, especially acknowledging your children will be more aware of how society works than you are. Thank you.

Comment by George

This comment might get you on the child services watchlist.

Comment by DH

I will remind them of that on Thursday!

Comment by Rob

if you want to stay married, do not fucking admit that to mary.

Comment by andy@cynic

Seems your parents came up with fail harder before Dan Wieden.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Explains why Wieden hired him. Payment to his parents for use of FH.

Comment by DH

Back your team? That’s the that sort of reckless perspective that makes corporate America hate you.

Comment by DH

Crazy, new age thinking.

Comment by Pete

This would be much funnier if it wasn’t true. Corporate America runs by power and control … it has utterly shocked me, but not as much as it’s shocked them that I’m never going to subscribe to that approach. Boom Tish.

Comment by Rob

corporate america is the worst fucking thing in the world. im amazed you havent been fired yet campbell, but im guessing thats because they dont understanding what the fuck youre saying.

Comment by andy@cynic

As a parent who is trying to just achieve average parenting level, this post is great.

Comment by Pete

Great advice for parents and managers alike.

Comment by Lee Hill

You didn’t have a formal education, you got 2% in maths.

As for Otis (and your team), as long as they learn how to learn then the location in which they do it is less important than the fact that they keep on doing so.

Personally, if I were eighteen today I wouldn’t go to university either.

Comment by John

I got 2% once. ONCE!

OK, maths was always tough on me [don’t even start on trying to get me to add two fractions together] but generally I was a good student. Or I was until exam time – and then the pressure got too much and I was terrible.

As for ‘learn to learn’ … absolutely, but in corporate America, it’s more about ‘learn to follow’ which is why there’s so much wrong with the place.

Not all people or corporations follow this approach, but in my limited experience, it certainly feels it’s in the majority.

Comment by Rob

you only have to fuck one sheep campbell…..

Comment by andy@cynic

Best comment ever.

Comment by DH

that god tweet would have got him/her/it a job at cynic.

Comment by andy@cynic

Like Billy?

Comment by John

Billy won an experiment. I won’t tell you the result of that experiment.

Comment by Rob

My eldest daughter is at University studying theatre. She always knew what she wanted to do and only ever really contacts me for advice on Gin (and Gin related hangovers).

Daughter number two had the guts to chuck in a biochemistry degree after two years because it was making her unhappy – I’m spending quite a lot of time talking with her at the moment, and, for the first time in our relationship, it really feels like I’m helping her with something that she recognises as help.

I’ve just been on the phone with my youngest daughter. She’s in the middle of her A-levels and had just told me what she wants to study (“you going to hate it dad, but I can’t be bothered to study psychology”) and that she’ll be needing some help this coming weekend.

All three have grown into incredible young women. They’re making their choices and are all three socially aware, but my experience with them and with their peers has been that they are not as aware as we may believe them to be – and that’s why we’re here to catch them.

Comment by Marcus Brown

You’re a good man and an even better dad.

Without doubt parents are there to catch us, but they’re also there to instill beliefs that lets us follow stuff – and then change our mind to follow other stuff – even if we don’t think it’s the right thing.

Because ‘the right thing’ is relative to the individual and acknowledging that is what makes a great parent.

Comment by Rob

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