When I went to med school, my parents were obviously thrilled.
I would be the first physician on both sides of the family as we were a family of engineers and businessmen. In the Indian community, being a physician is extremely well-respected, and the dream (or expectation!) of many Indian parents. It also meant a secure, well-paying job, which was equally as important.
When I started med school, I thought I was going to be a pediatrician. Daddy and Mummy were okay with this, but they asked me if I would think about being a cardiologist or something else along those lines. I quickly just ignored my parents since in their minds, physicians could only be cardiologists, neurosurgeons, etc (waiting for my cardiology and neurosurgical friends to comment in the affirmative 😆. They meant well, but the best way to describe them would be "uninformed".
So you can imagine what happened when I told my parents I wanted to be an anesthesiologist. They immediately asked me why I would want to do that, it's not respectable, they don't do anything, why don't I become a cardiologist, blah, blah, blah. This actually offended me a great deal. I told them that they did quite a bit, but they didn't believe me. So to at least satiate them for the time-being, I told them anesthesiologists make good money, which they didn't realize, and this thought at least satisfied them in the short-term.
It wasn't until I started my anesthesia residency that they finally started to become more enlightened and appreciative in regards to what I do. I mean, heck, I wasn't even fully enlightened until I did it myself! They started to realize an anesthesiologist plays a critical role in the care of patients, it can be an extremely stressful job, and they began to realize their initial impression was patently false.
So one day, I received a call from Daddy. We were talking about various things, but then proceeded to tell me he was really proud of me and I made the right decision to pursue anesthesia. This made me happy as I felt I earned Daddy's respect and felt I had definitely gotten through to him in regards to our importance in patient care. But this moment of happiness quickly turned into an incredulous smirk when the reason he was happy came through:
My parents were receiving mail on my behalf from hospitals who were looking to recruit anesthesiologists, and each of them listed starting salaries. And once he saw the salaries they were offering, he became very happy. So much for being "enlightened" - ugh.
But ultimately, Daddy just wanted to make sure I had a good paying job I enjoyed, and once he knew I did, he started worrying about me - a little - less.
His children's financial security was extremely important to him, of nearly equal importance as the career path I took to get there. He was always extremely practical and long-sighted, and it's this long-sightedness that ensured Mummy will be okay financially without him.
Money wasn't the end all-be all source of happiness for Daddy (family was obviously). But he also realized that having financial security sure made things a whole lot easier.