When I Grow Up

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"  A question oft asked of whippersnappers, crumb snatchers and whistle britches around the world.  Depending on who you ask, you get varied answers...a doctor, a chef, a football player, a farmer, a super hero, a policeman, a scientist, a millionaire, a soldier, a ballerina, an artist.  When I was little, I wanted to be a journalist/writer, an OB/GYN, a teacher and a mom.  Seriously, from the time that I was very young, these things were on my radar.  When I ask The Younglings, they don't have definite answers.  It strikes me as strange and I don't know how to feel about it.  Does this mean they are still pondering?  Do they have any ideas at all?  Are they too young for me to worry about this?  What in the world will the writers of "Dallas" do now that JR (Larry Hagman, RIP)is truly and mortally dead?  Ooops...don't answer that last one...overlapping blog thoughts.

When Y1 was little, he was on the super hero track.  Between Larry-B*y and Sp*der Man, he was all about saving the world...be it from nasty rumor weeds or eight armed villains.  He also wanted to be a football player.  Definitely wanted to don the "Big Orange" for his college years.  We're to blame for that.  The child was born the same day that UT won the 1997 SEC championship...his middle name (and yes...we consider that to be his middle name...he had a double first name...although, we didn't put it that way on his birth certificate, so anything that comes to him as an official document only comes by the first of his two first names...clear as mud?)is after Peyton Manning.  He's had orange and white duds all his life.  His first birthday party was UT football.  He's endured a lot of ribbing because of how we've steeped him.  So, his answer at eight years old of football player for UT was not a great surprise.  Having three seasons of football under his belt, he realizes how much work goes into that particular dream.  He love the game...more in the front yard, where he's not required to have pads...but maybe not quite as much as he did when he was eight.  He's got a talent for the stage, but I'm not sure I want him to try and parlay that into a career.  Show business is not for the faint of heart and he has SUCH a tender spirit, I'd hate to see one too many casting rejections tarnish that.  He's really good...I mean REALLY good with little kids.  Maybe it's because he's so tall.  At almost 6ft., he seems like a very tall tree to the seven and under crowd.  Maybe he'll be a teacher.  I'd love to see him in a classroom with kindergartners or first graders.  It would be good for all of the children...especially the little boys.  Unless revival happens in this country and I do believe that God the Holy Spirit can make that happen, more and more children are going to grow up without the influence of a positive male role model in their lives.  Those early years are clutch...maybe he's the one to point some in the right direction.

When Y2 was little, we decided that he would probably be VERY good as a demolitions expert.  Joshing you negative when I say that he could have torn up a bowling ball!  He was more adept at taking things apart (read that as "breaking things apart")than any kid I'd ever met.  Putting them back together was overrated.  Once he saw what was inside, what made it work, how it went together, he was ready to move onto the next conquest.  We wondered if a scientist would be a good fit for him because of his curiosity but with his penchant for destruction, we dismissed that idea.  He's developed a natural gift for art...drawing, painting...some of the things he's done have been rather stunning.  They've been profound enough to make us wonder if we need to find someone to give him art lessons.  I struggle with that. He has a natural talent and a natural love for this...the wrong teacher would ruin him.  Case in point...I overheard an art teacher tell a child that the work he submitted would have to be redone because it wasn't what she wanted.  He used the materials she gave him and it was turned in on time....but it didn't fit her idea of what he should have done.  Hmmmmmm....okay!  The next time you want a basket full of art projects that reflect what YOU would have done, perhaps you should just do the work for your students.  And by the way, this was a second grade child.  Just because you can...doesn't mean you can teach.  There's a lot Y2 can do with his art.  One of his Wednesday night teachers tells me that she sees great things in his future.  She knows for certain that he will do great things for God.  I'm good with that.

My dream for both of them is that they would find a job that doesn' feel like work.  It's a rare thing and those who have that situation have been touched by an angel.  Being able to do what you love to do, every day and to be paid for it, is a great gift.  There will still be the struggles that come with any employment, but if you love it just that much, the struggles won't matter.

It didn't take me long to realize that my own aspiration of being an OB/GYN was not going to happen.  the SMALL bit of chemistry required in basic 9th-grade Biology threw me under the bus.  Pre-med studies require a lot of biology and chemistry courses that would have driven me to the funny farm.  Too much math involved and my lack of mathematical talent in nearly infamous!  Then there was the expense of med-school.  Then there was the time away from family.  Being a mom was HIGH on my list and anything that would make that more difficult was out of the question.  As for being a journalist, I began to realize that it wasn't as noble a profession as it seemed.  Being willing to do whatever it takes to be the first one to break a story...no matter that there might be little to no truth to it...well, seemed a little soul-less to me.  Going into the war zones...uh, no.  I have issues being in locations where the potties don't flush! 

So I became a teacher.  Not because I couldn't do the others...not because there were too many obstacles or too many points on the negative scale.  I became a teacher because it was the best fit for what I really wanted to be...a wife and mother.  Weekends, summers and certain holidays off...work hours being conducive to "normal" family life...that's the ticket.  Being the romantic that I am, you can imagine how disappointed I was when I realized all the other stuff that goes with it.  Colleagues who've lost their heart and perspective; administrations that are too busy counting pennies, disengaged parents, unqualified parents, missing parents, children coming to school hungry, scared, sick and beat down....and oh, the paperwork!  There was so much else that got int the way of just teaching.  So, before I totally lost my heart, I left the classroom.  Do I feel like a quitter?  Sometimes I really do.  Sometimes it feels like the best thing I ever did.

I've never been one to wish the time away or spend a lot if time wishing for time that's already been spent.  If I had the chance to rewind, I might tell my 9th grade self to push through those tough biology classes...that's why God invented tutors.  I don't know.  Maybe I'd tell my 30 year old self not to give up on the classroom.  We all have choices in life.  The decisions we make are important...even the ones we make when we are seven or eight and the choice is between a ballerina or web slinging super hero.

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