One of the questions that I was asked a lot. When you grow up, what do you want to be?
When we are young, our entire lives are ahead of us and there is great big world out there just waiting for us to dive in. Adults know the difficulty behind finding a job, getting a job, and keeping a job. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to find a job that we fall in love with. Most young adults entering into the work force is just not that lucky.
I have seen it time and time again over my 20-year tenure in the school system. Little Johnny has his big ideas, wide-eyed, and ready to take on the world. He wants to be a lawyer, a doctor, or a firefighter. Then he comes to visit me after high school and wants to be a tree arborist after watching a professional cut down a maple tree.
He seems a little disheartened when he tells me this. But you know what I say? I tell him, Little johnny….you go out there and you be the very best tree arborsist the world has ever seen.
Why do we put such strong desires onto our children to be MORE than what they want to be? What if, when you asked your child what they want to be when they grow up, they say, I want to be a carpenter or a concrete professional? Would you be just as proud to tell your friends that your child wants to be a carpenter as you would if she told you she wanted to be a lawyer?
You see, through the years, I have seen it time and time again. The children in my class room come up with some of the craziest, most outlandish careers of what they want to be when they grow up. But then, they go home, tell their parents, and the parents laugh at them and tell them, “you REALLY don’t want to be a bug collector, no, you really want to be a doctor instead.” And these children have their dreams crushed and end up like Little Johnny who feels that him being a tree care professional is somehow not good enough.
But it is! It absolutely is!
So I say – ENCOURAGE your child when she tells you that she wants to be a baker or an artist. Do not put your lack of accomplishments and push them onto your child. Chances are, if you allow them to dream, they may just surprise you and become a doctor or a lawyer or a scientist that looks at bugs. Who knows?
Just don’t squash their dreams, ok!