I have been blessed to have a wife and son who have been my support throughout most of my rocky life.

My son Ricky picked up his first instrument when he was 3 years old and the entire time he was playing guitars, drums, banjos, trombones, trumpets, and any other possible source of noise that kept our home from being peaceful. I was trying to replace those drumsticks with a baseball bat, glove and hat.

I was a baseball player, and I wanted my son to follow in my footsteps. I believe that is normal for us, as parents, to want to guide our children’s lives. However, when we try to control their future it becomes overbearing.

I believe that everyone is born with a God-given talent, but musicians cannot live without using that talent every day. Most real musicians will not have much money, as they feel almost guilty for taking money for what they were born to do.

I worried about Ricky playing at dive bars, and motorcycle clubs until 2 a.m., so I tried my best to get him to stop playing music for a living and get a law degree, like dear old dad. I still remember the look he gave me. I knew quickly that he’d be lost without his music.

He told me that it wasn’t about the money. He’d play for free.

It’s not about the crowd. He’d play for one person.

It’s the look and the applause that they give him when he plays a solo. That “look” keeps him going and it’s addicting. And then he said, “I’d die if I couldn’t play.”

Musicians are cursed with unbelievable talent that controls their minds 24 hours a day and it’s not a choice. The good thing is, we get to listen to these God-given gifts, and my mouth drops open with pride each time I hear Ricky Stanfield play.

I’m proud of you Ricky. Keep playing, my son, and keep living.

You’re making people’s lives better through your talent.

Rick Stanfield is a syndicated columnist, motivational speaker and author. Email him at [email protected]. His website is rickstanfield.com.