New Castle News

November 12, 2012

Lisa Madras: My son’s calling isn’t da bomb for this future therapist, but it’s a noble one

Lisa Madras
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Have you ever wondered if you're following your true calling?

I had my first experience watching Joel Osteen last night. I know this guy has a huge amount of followers, and just as many people who dislike him, but I was intrigued if nothing else.

Because they had a guy on there who had never gotten over the suicide of his father, I had my son watch it with me. It never ceases to amaze me that my son still has peers who taunt him about not having a father, or about the gruesome nature of his dad's death. I sometimes feel like I'm fighting a losing battle at getting him over this when everything I try is undone on the bus ride to school the next morning.

Osteen's message was this: If you still have breath, then God has a purpose for you. The pain that you're going through now will prepare you to help someone else someday.

I seized this opportunity to explain to my kids why I'm going back to school to become a therapist. The only possible reason I've had to go through as much as I have, I told them, is that God wants me to help other people in similar situations.

I went on to ask my son if he felt that maybe becoming a therapist would be something he'd be interested in, too. I already know that he wants to go to the Air Force Academy and pursue a career in that branch of the military, but we'd never really discussed exactly what he thought he was going to do. I closed my eyes and smiled at the image of my grown son working as an Air Force psychologist.

"Ummm, Mom?" my son asked sort of hesitantly. "I really want to go into artillery. I know you don't like that idea of me going into battle, but that would probably be a part of that."

"So you mean you want to blow things up?" I asked him. (Dear God! Where had I gone wrong with this child? Was he destined to be a gun-collecting outcast who builds bombs in the basement and eventually shoots up a school or shopping mall? What more could I possibly do to straighten this child out???)

He rolled his eyes at me in typical 12-year-old fashion, like I'd just said something really stupid. Which I had.

"It's to help people who don't have the power to stand up for themselves, Mom."

Wow. I wish I'd had convictions like his when I was only 12. Sure, no mother wants to think of her son going off to war, but how can you argue with logic like that? This kid knows his calling, and already accepts that he may have to sacrifice his life for it someday.

As a mother, it wouldn't be my choice of a calling for him. But then, it never really was my choice, was it?