Q: After attending a recent graduation ceremony, my parents were very proud of my sister and her first-class performance. We were all beaming with pride. We went out for a graduation dinner with family and friends and my sister received hearty congratulations. Often the spotlight was on me with the expectation that I will follow the footsteps of my sister. My parents have great expectations about how well I will perform. In fact, they expect me to graduate with nothing less than an upper second-class degree. I got the opportunity to study law, but unfortunately, I was asked to leave the course. I have registered in another course which I truly love, but my parents continue to boast to their relatives and friends that I will soon be a lawyer. They are also very proud of me, because there is the expectation that when I finish law school I will join my father's practice and eventually take over his clients. My sister will join the family practice. I hate law, but I believe if I told them the truth it would destroy them. I am good at what I am doing now and the first set of tests were excellent. My sister knows the truth, but she will keep this confidential. She thinks that I should finish the degree with honours and then tell them. Do you think that is a good idea?
A: There is a saying 'speak the truth, and speak it ever, cost it what it will, he who hides the wrong he did, does the wrong thing still.'
It is better to tell your parents the truth of the situation and accept the consequences. Tell them you respect their wishes and desire for you to be part of the family business, but that is not your calling in life. Tell them you are proud of the performance of your sister and you feel she will make an excellent contribution to the law practice. In addition, tell them that there are pros and cons for the entire family putting their economic future in one basket, a family business. Hopefully, there will be opportunities for your skills to help the family practice.
You need to get your parents involved in the decision-making process concerning your new academic path. They can help you as you chart a new career path. Have a candid discussion with your parents. You should be humble in the discussion and repentant of not telling them earlier about the struggles with the law course. You should also be respectful and understanding of their good intentions towards you in wanting you to do law and handing over the business to you and your sister. If the discussion with your parents does not lead to the desired result, then you should get a trusted family member to talk to them. If the family member fails to make any progress, then you should consider a professional mediator.
Perhaps when you finish this new course of study your parents will be just as proud of you as they are of your sister, but you need to act swiftly. In any case, your parents will eventually know that you dropped out of law. You are only delaying the unavoidable. It would be more hurtful to your parents to learn from someone else. So talk to them now and with regret and respect. Then pursue your new course of study to the best of your ability.
All the best as you tell your parents the truth. It is the better way forward.