Pretty much everybody that knows me knows that I am a NASCAR (National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing) fan. Some would say I am truly a fanatic. My son got me hooked on it about 4 years ago, and it has become something I truly enjoy. He is also a NASCAR fan and has told be me that he wants to be a professional driver when he is an adult. He has told me that it is his dream to drive and would do whatever it takes to get there.
The problem is that although he has the desire, I strongly question whether or not he has the passion to carry it out. I have heard some of the stories about how NASCAR drivers had to work their way into racing and make great sacrifice doing it. Even children of drivers whose names end with Petty, Earnhardt, etc. have had to sacrifice to make it.
There are stories of some ofb them spending every waking moment they weren’t in school working to raise money to build a street stock car to race at their local track. Having as their only friends people at the track, missing out on all the extras at school like sports, proms, dates, etc.Â At least one driver almost missed his own graduation because he was out of town racing, trying to get his big break into racing. They all had the passion that it took to achieve their dream, not just a desire to do it.
As of right now it doesn’t seem that my son has that. He is a great kid, works hard, is liked by most kids as well as most adults, and is very responsible, but would rather spend Friday and Saturday night with his friends than spend them working on building a car. He would rather spend the money he makes working hard on cell phones, video games, and fast food than put it toward the several thousand dollars we will need to build our first car (a competitive street stock car costs about $9,000 to build and the expense climbs considerably as you move up in classes not to mention up-keep). He won’t read any of the books I have bought, or visit any of the websites I have found to learn about racing. I have to wonder if he thinks that somebody is going to come into our house and see him playing NASCAR 2007 on the X-box and offer him a contract driving a car in the NEXTEL Cup.
By now I am sure you are wondering what this has to do with being a houseparent. Here it is: I have found that the success you have as a houseparent and the longevity you have doing it is directly affected by the passion you have to help children.
You may have a desire to help children which is good but unless you have more than that you will probably quit the first time it becomes difficult. It takes passion! It is the passion to make a difference that keeps you going when things get tough. It is the passion that draws you to learn new techniques and about the different behaviors the children deal with. It is the passion that gives you the strength to try again every time you see a child fail when they go back home to their community. It is the passion that helps you love a child and be patient with them when it seems everybody else has given up.
Virtually every houseparent I know that has been successful and has lasted more than a year or two had a passion to make a difference. What about you?