14 Feb When Your Son Becomes Your Teacher
From the time our two sons were born, my husband Kevin and I have always been entrepreneurs who owned our business. Kevin travels around the world taking photographs for advertising and editorial. He also writes articles about his travels. He produces mixed media pieces and fine art photography and sells them as well. For most of my career I’ve worked from home, writing magazine articles and non-fiction books. When Caleb and Connor were young, Kevin and I frequently wrote about the Caribbean, producing guidebooks about the region, and often took them with us to the islands — the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, Curacao, Aruba, the Bahamas, and Trinidad & Tobago to name a few. We wanted to expand their minds and expose them to a myriad of cultures and experiences. Most of all, we wanted them to understand that you could create a life as big as you could dream.
Both sons are now adults and out doing their own things. Our younger son Connor Judson Garrett has decided to follow in our footsteps and become a writer/photographer/artist/entrepreneur. Kevin and I both learned many of our life lessons from our entrepreneurial fathers, who had each grown up dirt poor during the Depression. My dad Bob Montgomery picked cotton in Lubbock as a teen before he traded that for picking a guitar and songwriting. He eventually produced and published some of the biggest artists in country music during his 60+ year career in Nashville. Kevin’s dad Warren Garrett went the University of Georgia at age 16 and got his degree in forestry. He worked in a paper mill until he saved up enough to go out on his own as a pulpwood provider. At the time of his death at age 61, he was one of the largest suppliers of pulpwood to Georgia Pacific. Kevin and I, both the oldest children in our respective families, worked for our dads’ companies. We got the message loud and clear that hard work and a clear vision could pay off. The benefits of getting to work alongside our fathers continues to pay dividends today.
What is astonishing is to see how that passion for following a dream is fully engrained in our sons’ DNA. Because Connor has chosen a path similar to ours, the rate of speed at which he’s blazing his own trail boggles my mind. When Kevin and I moved to New York City as young newlyweds after Dad sold House of Gold Music to Warner Brothers, I wanted to work in magazines and become a writer, and Kevin went after acting. But my first few years working at a women’s magazine, I scarcely wrote hardly anything. I think I was afraid to commit too much to paper for fear that it wouldn’t be any good. Eventually, I got over that fear and the words began to flow. Right before our oldest son Caleb was born when I was 29, I quit my job as an editor at a business magazine and went freelance.
Fast forward, and fresh out of college, Connor moved to Los Angeles to work on his first novel and an app he and some childhood friends created called StudyHubb.com. Since Connor has been in LA for the past year, he worked as a copywriter for a major company. He has produced enough poetry for two books — one of which will be published soon. He’s launched a blog called MillennialBeat.com and written most of its content. His novel will soon be finished, and he’s working on a screenplay adaptation for one of my books. StudyHubb.com just got its first investment last week. And last week, Connor published his first eBook in which he reveals the principles he followed to get himself back on track physically and emotionally when he thought his life was getting out of balance.
He asked me to help him edit the book and get it published. I was honored. Then I started reading, and I realized how good it was. As a parent, the most wonderful thing in the world is to see your child embrace the learning that you’ve tried to impart and take it to the next level. Connor’s skills as a writer far exceed mine, and his prolific output wows me. We are launching a new site together soon that will fill a gap in the market that we see. The site is geared toward Millennials like him, but he’s asked me to be a partner. Bouncing ideas with Connor and helping each other has infused my own career with a new clarity and vibrance. He helps me see everything through fresh eyes. He turns age 24 next month. I realized this week that my son has become my teacher, and that makes me smile.