Once upon a time
Wed 26 Mar 2008, 10:49 AMTweet
by Ben Langhinrichs
Once upon a time in a kingdom not very far from here, there lived a beautiful princess. She was smart and musical and politically active and talented in many ways, but the kingdom was afflicted with an evil spirit which whispered evil and often contradictory thoughts in people's ears and left them quite confused. At first, the princess was protected in her royal palace, but as she ventured out in the world, these people sought to turn her one way or another.
Some people came to the princess in the classroom and extolled her academic prowess, saying, "You are so smart, you should focus entirely on your studies or you will never get where you want to go." But the princess just shook her head and said, "I'm going to do things my way." and went on doing all the activities she liked, including her studies among them.
Other people came to the concert hall and praised her musical talent, saying, "You are so musical, you should focus entirely on your music or you will never get where you want to go." But the princess just shook her head and said, "I'm going to do things my way." and went on joining all the groups she wanted, including the marching band and jazz band among the others.
Still other people came to the streets where the princess marched, "You are so involved, but you must not participate in these radical activities or you will never get where you want to go." But the princess just shook her head and said, "I'm going to do things my way." and went on marching and protesting, in between her clubs and concerts and studies.
After a while, the princess determined to go to college, and ignoring the people who thought she should go to a fancy "Ivy League" colleges, and the others who thought she should go to a conservatory and study classical music, and even others who thought she should go somewhere close to home where she could learn "practical skills", the princess went to a small but intellectually rigorous college which was known for political activism and international studies. The people who had proposed the Ivy League schools were appalled and said they had never even heard of her college, and that the princess had obviously relegated herself to a life of anonymity and obscurity. The people who had suggested a conservatory were dismayed that the college did not have a strong enough music program, and that the princess would lose all her musical gifts due to lack of practice and use. And the people who had suggested close, practical schools were agog at the distance and liberal attitudes of college, and worried aloud that the princess would never go anywhere after making such a poor choice. But the beautiful princess just shook her head again and said, "I'm going to do things my way." and took the hardest and most interesting classes with much better access to professors than the Ivy Leagues offered, and played first chair in the college's orchestra with much more chance to shine than at the fancy conservatories, and continued to march and protest and support the candidates of her choice, and not just those of the safe mainstream.
After three and a half years of this, the princess was ready to move on, and the people protested once again. "You cannot graduate early," some said, "as you have not learned all there is to learn and there are courses yet to take." But the princess was quite sure she had learned enough. And others said, "You cannot graduate early, as the world is a big bad place and you should stay in safety as long as possible. You will regret it if you leave." But the princess felt quite prepared to take on the world, thank you very much. Others said, "You cannot graduate early, as you have not found a life mate. You should stay and find a nice prince to marry." But the princess had spent enough time with the local princes, and was quite content to take her chances elsewhere.
So the princess graduated early, and went off to the big city to seek fame and fortune. She landed a prime internship in a progressive think tank, despite not having gone to the Ivy League colleges and despite espousing radical views and supporting unpopular candidates. A few still whispered that she was too young and would not ever be able to get a job without a master's degree or law degree, and that she should leave until she was better prepared and had better credentials, but she barely heard them. All she said was, "I'm going to do things my way." and went about her business. And lo and behold, after a few months, but before her internship had even ended, and before she would have graduated from her college far away, she was offered a job by the clear thinking people in the big city who valued someone who would do things her own way and knew her own mind, a job doing what she loves to do and not what other people tell her is best.
And back at the palace, her father, the king, is very proud.
Copyright © 2008 Genii Software Ltd.
What has been said:
703.1. Rob McDonagh (03/26/2008 07:08 AM)
Congratulations, Ben. And to the princess as well. I hope my own princess grows up to have such a clear view of what is truly important in life.
703.2. Jess Stratton (03/26/2008 07:27 AM)
Congratulations to you and the princess! The princess sounds very wise, indeed. It is entirely possible to have your cake and eat it, too. That comes from trusting your own judgement and being confident in knowing what's best for yourself and those around you. The princess must be absolutely radiant!
703.3. Wild Bill (03/26/2008 07:52 AM)
Nice work. All you can do as a parent is teach, hope and let them fly...
703.4. Ben Poole (26/03/2008 08:04)
Sounds to me like the princess inherited a whole lot of wisdom from the king and queen :o)
703.5. Keith Brooks (03/26/2008 08:37 AM)
Contrarians and Nonconformists everywhere are proud of you all. Now where can I find the open minded company :-)
703.6. Nathan T. Freeman (03/26/2008 10:14 AM)
And here I was thinking this whole story was metaphorical.