UNITED STATES—I was delivered some game changing news this week from a family member that shook me. You know how people tell you things they want to accomplish when it comes to their career path and you start to think, “I can see you doing that.” If I were to ever think of my nephew’s career path the first thing that popped into my mind was engineer, possibly a mechanical engineer. He was going to school to study such, but out of the blue my mother reveals did you hear the news about your nephew?

“No,” was my reaction. Then my sister explained that he wanted to become a cop. Hmm, it immediately caught me off guard because I didn’t expect to hear that from him of all people. A cop, my nephew wants to become a cop and it sent chills down my body. For those asking, I have had family members who were cops. Hell, my uncle was a state trooper who risked his life for years before retirement. The thing is my nephew is young and the thought of him being a cop patrolling the streets of a dangerous city scares me senseless.

That notion that you hear time and time again about not knowing when someone exits the front door, if they’ll return that night started to sink into my head and that was a feeling I did not like. It is not just me worrying about my nephew, but the stress it would put on my brother and sister-in-law worrying about their only child.

It is a damn scary feeling when it is presented to you. I thought about attempting to discourage him from doing it, but then it hit me that’s not my right to do so. If this is something he wants to do I have to respect his choice and his reasoning for doing it, even if I’m not 100 percent comfortable with it. It is like any kid growing up and your parents telling you what you need to do career wise when you get of age. Be a doctor, be a lawyer, do this or do that.

Sometimes as parents we have no idea exactly how much pressure we sometimes put on kids to accomplish their goals, not their own. Like when my parents found out that I wanted to pursue a career in the film industry, all I kept hearing was what is your backup plan? My response was I don’t have a backup plan. This is what I want to do and I’m going to push and focus and do whatever I have to do to make this dream come to fruition no matter how long it takes.

When you have career that you want to pursue, not everyone is going to be happy with the choices that you make, but the key is they have to respect what it is you choose to do because it is YOUR LIFE. Those are the key words, YOUR LIFE to live not theirs. Don’t allow people to scare you into doing something safe or something that appears to bring more clout or prestige because you’re a doctor, you’re a lawyer, you’re a business owner or entrepreneur. We live too much in this country on the belief that a label gets you respect. No it does not, respect is something that is earned, you give it you will receive it.

At the same time, as scared as I am for my nephew to become a police officer the idea of having another member of law enforcement in our family is something I have to be proud of. I mean literally all of my uncles on my dad’s side served our country in the military, except my dad. My grandfather was a World War II veteran, I guess the notion of serving my country is more in my blood than I think and know.