Update from Jon the Ballplayer’s Mom

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For those of you around the U.S. who have been attending my workshops, I shared that the favorite part of my blog is when the community jumps in and participates in supporting someone who is pursuing a dream.

My “Jon the Ballplayer” series is one such example. I have now run quite a few posts on this story, and wanted to add one more this evening since it is so sweet.

The series thus far:
  1. Your chance to offer advice to creativity-impared cube dweller with career conundrum
  2. Update on our career-challenged 23-year old wannabe ballplayer trapped in a dreaded job
  3. Whip out the kleenex for the update on Jon the ballplayer

If the last post weren’t enough, where Jon tells us that he followed our advice and is doing great, his Mom Valerie just sent me her perspective on her recent visit to Germany with Jon:

Hi Pam:

I have been keeping in touch with the website and Jon told me he wrote an update to his adventure.  I would like to add my two cents if you find it relevant to print.

My first response  —— I am so proud of Jon — against all odds (parents, money, economy) he found the courage to grow.  It’s hard to admit as a parent that your child can give you a life lesson.  When did the turn around happen?  It seems like yesterday  that he was in little league — being driven to games and now he’s an adult escorting his parents through Europe.  It is truly amazing.

Without a doubt, Jon made the right decision.  Meeting him at the airport in Hamburg, I saw a different son.  He was more sophisticated, more mature, more respectful.  What a great week we had while he proudly showed us the beautiful city.   (Without saying I told you so)

I was fortunate I was able to take 3 weeks off from work and for 2 weeks Jon and I traveled alone throughout Germany and then to London.   I don’t think I spent this much time with him — one on one —since elementary school.   It just doesn’t  happen with school, family, and friends.   That in itself was a wonderful birthday present.

Our family has come full circle.  My parents met in Germany after the war.   I was born there but we migrated  to America when I was three.  I had no recollection of my birth place.  I always knew that I had to return to get a sense of fulfillment.  I didn’t know I would travel there because my son would be living in Germany.  My father passed away a few years ago and my mother is  now under hospice care  — so it was very spiritual visiting the towns they lived in and walking the streets they walked — probably with me in tow.  Germany has beautiful Gothic churches and every church we went in to we lite a candle for my mother and father.   I have to say that the town we lived in Ettlingen was one of the most picturesque towns in Germany.  Very Hansel and Gretel………I was very happy.  I had a great sense of belonging.  The people were extra friendly and extra supportive when I told them I lived there as a child.  I really felt like I came home.  There was actually another mystery solved while being there but that is another more complicated story.

I did become the child and Jon became the parent.  He led the way, knew the rail system, mapped our destinations. He has a great sense of direction. I really didn’t have to think –just followed  (just like a toddler).  Actually he saved me money because I booked suites to be comfortable and he told me a regular room is good enough – so we changed and the money saved we  used for  extra excursions — we got to see more.  One thing about Jon – he is very frugal and cost efficient.  He would be a great CFO.

We did a city in a day  but covered it all.  Somehow I kept up the pace.  Next time I know to travel lite.  Rail travel with an overfilled, over sized suitcase that bearable makes it down the aisle does not work……….we stood out as “tourist” to Jon’s chagrin.

I really don’t know if he is ready to come home.  I think what happens– the lifestyle becomes so cosmopolitan and  freestyle.  Can he conform  to a job?  It’s hard  for most people to leave college because their carefree “fun” lifestyle is over.   It’s going to be hard for him to leave Europe because his experience was so positive and his schedule so open.  Work comes with restrictions.    Hopefully the experience will bring him  the knowledge and understanding to have a  successful career.  There is another chapter to this story and probably many more chapters.   He is a man with many ideas.  He does plan to pursue starting his own business and maybe businesses.    My advise to him – even if one fails – you will only gain more experience for the next one.  Never give up.

This is a book and a movie script.

Our system is flawed because we don’t provide our youth with the right choices early in life.  Guidance counselors in High School are paper pushers for college entries but don’t provide life choices.  They should be replaced with life coaches instead.   Wouldn’t that make more sense?    That would be the best time to provide guidance — the start of a persons career. Choices are never discussed in high school.  Only what classes to take to graduate or get into college.   But that is also another topic.

Jon reached out to cubicle nation because he wanted confirmation that he was on the right track.  He couldn’t get that assurance at home.  It’s beyond words how grateful I am to the people that took their time to encourage him and provide sound guidance.  Without the letters of encouragement I would have been too cautious and worried about him leaving his job and  finding another one — especially when he was fortunate to find a well paying job so early in his career.  Which actually provided him the monetary freedom to leave.   Possibly the letters were more encouraging and motivational  for me because I had a 360 degree turn around.  Jon was already on the cliff –  just needed the extra push.

I can’t believe how well the pieces fit for him.   How easy my husband and I turned around and saw a different picture.     It was  meant to be.  There are no other answers.

In closing (not to make this sound like the academy awards), but, I would like to especially thank Pam for  taking the interest in  presenting Jon’s story and continuing the saga.   I would like to thank everyone that responded and showed genuine interest and concern.  It truly “takes a village”.  What a great group you have Pam.  I will continue to stay in touch.

Thank you Valerie for being so open to receiving input and support from others. This whole experience has made me very proud of my community.

It takes a village indeed.

End note: Valerie’s Mom passed away just days ago. She expressed her joy at visiting her place of birth with Jon while her Mom was still alive. Our best wishes and biggest hugs are with you Valerie.

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12 Responses to “Update from Jon the Ballplayer’s Mom”

  1. Debbie says:

    I am extremely happy to hear Jon went to Germany. One of the best and most enlightening experiences of my life was selling what little I owned at the age of 20 to live in England for 6 months. Luckily? or sadly, the job I quit wanted me back just about the time I needed to come home for lack of money. I went with just under $1000, found a job selling California waterbeds in Birmingham (I’m from California), got my picture in the Birmingham post, made a radio commercial and got to see a large part of the English countryside and make it to parts of Southern Ireland. The best thing I think we can teach our children (my kids are 26, 21 and 19)is to take opportunity when you see it. That can also mean, and usually means, taking a risk. The best part of Jon’s experience was financially making it work. It doesn’t matter “where” you are, but what you do in the place you’re presently at. It also doesn’t mean Jon that you have to take a desk job and start fitting into “routine”. I did that for over 34 years and just got fired with no severance, no goodbye party, etc. from an accounting position that did not fit my personality at all. Of course it helped provide for a family, but I truly believe I would have figured that out no matter what I decided to do. I regret all those “Walter Mitty” days where I day dreamed of going back to England to sell waterbeds…Or pursing the acting career I always dreamed of. You won’t always be young, and you will hopefully grow old. Don’t get too old and regret the opportunities you missed. You will always learn from your experiences if your mind is open. One other thing, if you don’t already, add some yoga to your life; it keeps you centered and at peace with the world. Happy adventures Jon!!!

  2. […] which new readers may not have seen, and not have to construct the whole idea from scratch. My Jon the Ballplayer series is a good example of this.  (Side benefit — when people like your post, they usually […]

  3. […] own update. It is amazing how Jon’s choice to follow his passion impacted his entire family! Jon’s Mom Valerie Update AKPC_IDS += "1700,";SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "Whip out the kleenex for the update on Jon the […]

  4. My prayers and thoughts go out to Valerie for her loss. I see this whole thing coming about perhaps for her… getting to visit Germany before her mother passing.

    “Choices are never discussed in high school” – I hear that! I went into college not having a clue that I had choices. Consequently I ended up quitting only to return years later (30’s) when I actually knew what I wanted out of life.
    .-= Jared | SpiritualZen.net´s last blog ..The Spiritual Power of Now =-.

  5. Russell Abravanel says:

    It is nice to see that you can break away from life and do the things you really dream to do!

  6. Every time I read a new update on this story, I tear up a bit. It’s amazing how many people have been touched by one person’s simple decision to do something differently–and to start to imagine all of the new possibilities that are now open to him! And to see this shift in his family, and to read this letter…. Truly, this story has been a gift for everyone–including those of us reading about it…. Just wow.

  7. Jim Valeri says:

    Amazing Story! Its too bad we don’t have a larger control group so we can do the research and take it to those schools to show them that career coaching may be better than going to school for a career, which as Jim T. said, is trickier to do with less jobs. Hmm…possible research idea with college guinea pigs… 🙂

    The cube is easier to do, and during times of famine I’m tempted to go back. Then I talk to my wife and we realize we are so much happier working together, that going back seems like an obstacle in our path to happiness.

    Keep at it, Jon. You have opportunity and youth. Use them wisely and they will pay off! Good Luck!
    .-= Jim Valeri´s last blog ..Law of Attraction and Santa Claus: How They’re The Same. =-.

  8. Dale says:

    It’s great to see Jon’s mom experiencing a growth just a big in magnitude as her son. Thanks for this inspirational story, it’s this story that helped push me over the top to take a 3 month leave of absence despite the misgivings of my dad. 🙂 I’m on day 1 of the sabbatical and I think I agree with his mom… I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to conform to cube land again!
    .-= Dale´s last blog ..And so it officially begins… =-.

  9. I like the fact that we have been able to follow Jon throughout the experience, and hear another viewpoint from his mother.

    When we talk about making changes to your life and taking risks, we often focus on the downsides of how it may affect your family and those around you. There isn’t enough discussion about how taking chances can enrich the lives of others.

    I’m happy to hear not only how Jon’s life has been changed by his decision, but also how his mother was filled with pride and joy at the choice he made.

    Definitely inspiring.
    .-= Mark C. Webster´s last blog ..Is Our Health Care System Stifling Your Idea? (and everyone else’s?) =-.

  10. Jim Taggart says:

    Very heartwarming and inspirational. It’s so true what Valerie said about the lack of guidance in high schools. Today’s economic conditions are making it that much more difficult for young people to find a career path. Yes, it does take a (virtual) village, and hopefully e-groups will be of assistance to help youth find their way in the future.
    .-= Jim Taggart´s last blog ..Where’s the Sacrifice? One Perspective on America’s Fiscal Mess =-.

  11. Sarah Pick says:

    fantastic growth experience –
    amazing how community builds & supports around the topic – Certainly John is gaining new confidence & perspective that will help in entrepreneurial ventures, but it’ll also be valuable to employers. I am a mom w/ 20-something “kids” in different countries & different stages of exploration. In today’s global work world, these experiences with travel/adapting to work situations overseas will be invaluable in whatever direction John wants to go later. He will be a valuable employee at certain companies just because of what he accomplished in Germany, and certainly he’ll no doubt get ideas for entrepreneurial bent, too. Wonderful update!

  12. Kimmoy says:

    Aaaaww so precious 🙂 I’m really happy their entire family was able to go through such a huge transformation all because their son wanted to pursue his dreams. It is in true when they say if you don’t share what you have inside of you with the world, you are doing others a disservice. I commend them all for taking the leap. Having life coaches in High School is so needed, she was definitely spot on! That is truly food for thought.

    Thanks Pam and John’s family for sharing; again another inspiring story.
    .-= Kimmoy´s last blog ..5 Surefire Ways to Develop a Plus-Size Brand =-.