I was born and raised in the County of Dade. I have to laugh whenever I say that. If you are from Miami, then you understand that statement is funny and so serious at the same time. In Miami where you went to high school and what you did in high school was important. I was in the band. It was what I did and a large part of who I was at the time. If you were in the band you lived in the band room and your friends were more than likely band members. It was fun and provided me with an outlet.
My band Director was Reuben Cooper. I have no idea where he is or if he is living but he totally impacted my life in a significant way. Because of him, I have the greatest amount of respect for band directors, music, and musicians. He attended Florida A&M University (FAMU), that awesome University on the highest of seven hills in Tallahassee, Fl. (yes that one) He would share with stories of attending FAMU, being in the Marching 100, and just life. He encouraged us to attend college and begin making decisions for our future. As a freshman in high school I had him for two periods. One class was in the morning for technique and then the last class of the day would be for marching or symphonic band depending on the time of the year. In the morning class we would work on technique, but sometimes he would play jazz and would engage us in thought-provoking conversations. It was awesome because he really encouraged us to think about the people we were becoming.
One day he asked us what we wanted to be in life. He wanted to know what we wanted to do. In that moment, I knew I wanted to be a psychologist. I think at the time I said I wanted to be a Child Psychologist to be precise. How I shifted from that to a Marriage and Family Therapist is another blog, but in that moment I knew I wanted to help people. I wanted to help children specifically. I wanted to help people (children at the time) by listening to their stories. I wanted to give people a safe place to talk, cry and heal.
So at fourteen, sitting in my high school band room , I decided I wanted to work with children and their families. In that moment, I knew that would require college and grad school. I really hadn’t thought about the additional steps along the way. In that moment I knew I wanted to help. So, that is what I set my sights on.
That is the day I knew what I wanted to be and I knew there was no going back. I wouldn’t trade that day for nothing in the world. I’ve had the pleasure helping people grow from some of the most challenging moments and stages of their lives. This work isn’t for everyone, but for the few of us that get to do it and do it well, we all should embrace our story of that moment when you decided this was the path.
What was the moment for you? Share in the comments below.