I am a big fan of XM60, formerly XM12, Outlaw Country. They play alot of music that you won’t hear in a sold-out football stadium; these are gritty artists roaming the country in a van, hauling their own equipment, singing songs they wrote themselves. Highly independant folks– I am down with that. One of the reasons that I am such a big fan is that when I drove the kids to school every morning, Elizabeth Cook was the dj (she has a different slot now, but is still in the morning, FYI.) She says the funniest things like, “If I eat all the cookies, they will be gone and I won’t eat anymore. Brilliant! I thank God every day for my Georgia Southern Education.” I get that. She is also a great songwriter and is up for an Americana Music Award for her song, “El Camino.”
My Outlaw country roots run deep and can be traced further back to that 8 track tape “Wanted! The Outlaws” that was the only music we listened to for about a year when we lived in Fisher. Even now, I could probably sing all the words to Red Headed Stranger and I haven’t heard it in years. Honestly, why weren’t we listening to calculus on tape? Back when my brain’s hard drive wasn’t filled up with song lyrics? Which brings me to another point: it’s pretty much your parents’ fault. Everything.
When I was growing up I thought I had a chance, being smart and self-determining and all. Turns out that was just bad information. Research shows that the biggest predictor of a person’s financial success is whether or not their parents were successful. So, I guess the reason I am not on the Forbes top 500 millionaires list is because my parents weren’t either. What were they thinking, dooming me to upper middle classhood? They should have tried harder.
Maybe the would have if they had known. Or maybe not. I heard about a study the other day that said parenting doesn’t matter; genetics and peers determine a child’s outcome. Well, I am no Rhodes scholar, but doesn’t alot of parenting have to do with choosing your neighborhood, child’s school, and who you let them hang out with, i.e. peers? So, wouldn’t parenting have just the tiniest bit of relevance? Regardless, I am going to save this nugget for when the kids come back 40 years later telling me it’s my fault that they aren’t on the list… the Deans’ list, the Forbes list, any list.
So, which is it? Are we predestined according to our genes and patterns our parents set for us, or are we rugged individuals, able to go where no man has gone before? Well, I think that it may be both. Our genetic makeup is the hand we are dealt and how we choose to play it determines the rest. I am “all in” on this adventure.