Friday, December 2, 2011

Wild Goose Chases and Pots of Gold

I haven't been the one to post in a while, and I have something I just can't hold in anymore, so I guess I'll bust it out...
Have you ever had something that you're so interested in and completely fascinated by that you can spend hours and hours talking about it and never even notice the time pass? I like to call it the "passion", and it's got a reputation similar to that of the snipe. I first became aware of its existence as a freshman in college at Utah State. I was with my brother at the apartment of one of his former mission companions. It was one of those "friend of a friend of a friend" experiences for me, unfortunately, so I mostly just listened to what everyone else was talking about. There were more than a few of the other people there who were music majors, and, I kid you not, they spent the entire two-plus hours talking about nothing but music, performances, and the like. I was frankly quite impressed. I was an Accounting major at the time, and I couldn't even imagine spending an entire evening talking about ledgers, investments, or anything else business-related. It was then that I realized I needed to undertake what some view as a wild goose chase. I needed to find my "passion".

I came home from my mission two years later and still hadn't found it. It hadn't just come to me as I'd expected it to. I was kind of disappointed. In the meantime, I had definitely decided that it was most certainly not Accounting (no offense whatsoever to any accountants who read this; some of my dearest friends and family are accountants...). I switched to Psychology my second year at Utah State just in time to get married and transfer down to Dixie.

Best decision I've ever made, hands down. I didn't expect that, at all. I took a class down here that completely changed the direction of my professional life, and directed me away from the goose chase, toward a Leprechaun's rainbow. The class was "Child Family Mental Health", and it was all about helping parents engage with and understand their infants. I was in love. Anyone who really knows me knows that I have always had a particularly soft spot for babies, almost from the time I was one myself. I didn't even know this field existed, and yet, here it was, staring me in the face with those big, blue eyes... (I only became more sure when I found out that we were expecting, and Louise has blue eyes)

It's only now that we come to the Pot of Gold at the end of this rainbow. I recently applied, at the encouragement of the professor of the previously mentioned class, to-- get ready for it-- the University of Massachusetts Boston Infant Parent Mental Health Post-graduate Certificate Program in Napa, CA. It's the most comprehensive and complete program of its kind, and it's put on by the people who have basically laid the groundwork of this field. I realize that these names probably won't mean anything to the vast majority of you who read this, but I have to say them, because I'm just so darn excited. Among the faculty are Ed Tronick, T. Berry Brazelton, Dan Siegel, Bruce Perry, just to name a few. These people are the big cheese. It's really hard for me to come up with an appropriate analogy for others outside the field to understand what this is going to be like. It's like a music major going to a music camp where the conductors are Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven. These are the people who make the field what it is today.

So, for the next 15 months, I get to travel with my wife and daughter (as often as they'll agree to come with me) to beautiful Napa, California, sit at the the feet of the field's Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and, heck, throw in John Williams, and learn about a topic that I absolutely love. There's no losing where this is concerned. I'm so stinking excited.