This summer Cole’s uncle encouraged him to apply for a caddy position at the country club his grandfather has been a member of for years. Cole was excited about the prospect of earning money caddying and learning the game of golf; I was excited about the possibility of an Evan’s College scholarship.
Cole’s uncle walked me through the application process: Show up and make sure the caddy master knows Cole is the grandson of one of their long-time, hardworking, deceased club members. How I was supposed to do this was rather vague. I guessed it meant, (read this with a Chicago accent) “Show up and make sure they know who you are.”
Julianne, who had been through the caddy application process with family members, advised us on the proper attire to wear on application day — khaki pants, blue golf shirt, a hat. I asked Julianne for advice on letting them know “who we are,” but being a Northwest Chicagoan, she simply said, ”Just tell them who you are. They’ll get it.”
On application day Cole and I showed up along with a lot of other kids and parents and filled out all the forms and submitted the paperwork. I figured that they would connect our name on the application to my father-in-law’s name and would know “who we are.” It didn’t happen exactly that way.
Cole wasn’t selected at first, but a couple of phone calls from helpful friends put him on the caddy roster. He attended the one-week training course, passed his caddy test, completed the required apprentice hours, and told me he hated caddying and wanted to quit. QUIT! We are not quitters!
Trite, clichéd, banal words of wisdom flowed from my mouth. Unfortunately, I did not believe a word I was saying.
You can’t quit something just because you don’t like it.
The best reason to quit doing something is that you don’t like doing it.
Commitments are important and people are counting on you.
No one was counting on Cole. There were no assigned days or hours.
Work is not always fun!
At 16, work can be fun. At any age, work can be fun, more often than not.
Give it a fair chance — one summer.
We will both be miserable for an entire summer knowing Cole was not going to caddy again next summer
Do it for the money!
Cole has never had a hard time finding ways to make his own money.
What about that college scholarship?
Scholarships are awarded to caddies who caddy over more than one summer and usually start when they are about 13. Cole was past his prime.
Meeting new people is important! One of them may be the key to your internship or dream job.
Networking relationships take time to build and are best built with some sincerity and genuine interest in the other person. Cole was not interested.
What about me?
What will people think, especially the people who helped Cole get this gig, if I agree to letting him quit. Common parenting wisdom rarely supports letting your kid quit something because he or she doesn’t like it — especially a summer job.
I reminded myself that I don’t parent for an audience and rarely judge how other people raise their kids. I’m not always given the same benefit of doubt because I often let Cole choose his own Odd ways. My mother did the same for me. Naturally, we did not want to disappoint our supporters, but we trusted that our family and friends would understand that, regardless of the outcome, we appreciated their efforts on our behalf.
Cole thanked the caddy master for the opportunity to caddy and quit.
Moving along, I asked him what his plans were for the summer, and he pulled out a list (I love lists!): 1. Build things like his dad and his uncles. 2. Work with a friend to do small projects for paying customers. 3. Provide grooming and transportation for my campers and their families (services frequently requested). 4. Tutor in algebra, picking up some of the basic math skills he felt he had missed. 5. Improve his Ping-Pong skills (this was a priority, as was hanging out with his friends).
If you don’t like doing something and if pressing on won’t take you to a better place, why not make a plan, quit, and move on? What’s worse—staying stuck or quitting? Being resentful or quitting? If “not quitting” is positive, why does “can’t” come before it so often?
Odd Loves Company!