- Credit: Archant
Today my son told me that he wants to be either a pilot or a flight attendant when he grows up.
This is because he’s just got back from a lovely holiday and all he desires to do in life now is travel. Which is fine by me, as long as I don’t have to fund it. So, like the encouraging parent that I am (cough), I told him that it’s okay to go travelling as long as he’s got a job that can support his ventures.
He then asked me how he gets a job and does he really have to go to university. He’s nine. I have no idea about his future. Without any hesitation, I replied “Well you don’t have to.” My husband immediately stepped in and said “It would be a good idea if you want to get a decent job.” I realised it would be best if I didn’t say anything else at this point but it got me thinking. My response was actually an honest answer because, with him being so young, I don’t really care right now, as long as he’s happy.
I know that any advice actually doesn’t matter because I’ve never heard any adult say that from the age of nine they knew exactly what they were going to do in life or that they decided they were going to university from being a little kid. People change their minds. My son sees university as a place where he has to go and work really hard – and I haven’t the heart to tell him, well, that’s not only secondary school but what his life will be like once I boot him out of this house.
The thing is, last week he wanted to be a baseball player for the Phillies. Which was super cute because, bless him, he can’t catch a ball even if it’s handed to him. I tried to support the idea because at least the pinstripes he wanted to wear weren’t of the prison variety. But, like all kids, this week it’s a different plan for the future.
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As parents, we do like to dream about what our kids will become. From the minute the baby is born we enrol them in so many extra-curricular activities. Maybe it’s because we want to give them all sorts of opportunities but I suspect it’s because of pressure and parental competition. I remember worrying that our then two-year-old didn’t have a second language, so much so that I seriously considered getting a French au pair, even though I was a stay-at-home mum. Funny, but my husband who usually laughed at these mad-cap ideas, didn’t seem to object to that one.
Since my children have got older, I’ve realised that all those classes and educational DVDs forced upon them as toddlers really mean nothing. My son is tone deaf, so what a waste of time it was playing all that classical music to him in the womb. Hours watching Baby Einstein should have been replaced with a how-to-tie-a-shoelace instructional video. The trips to Sing & Sign to encourage their speech have truly backfired because none of my children have a clue how to be quiet.
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I actually have it on good authority that around the age of 9:
1. EINSTEIN: Barked instead of using words.
2. VAN GOGH: Burst out crying whenever he saw cheese.
3. BILL GATES: Collected windscreen wipers off cars.
4. MOZART: Repeatedly kissed himself in the mirror.
5. SHAKESPEARE: Pee’d himself because he couldn’t be bothered to go to the toilet.*
(* Actually that was me.)
Children can be children, for now. We spend too much time thinking about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that they are someone today. There’s time yet to develop and find a true skill or love for something that will help them through their adulthood. I’d rather they pursued something that they’re good at with passion then take some mickey mouse course at college for the sake of going.
I actually do know that they’ll probably end up as actors because my mother was almost in a film once and I’ve done loads of am dram. My husband thinks they’ll be scientists because he was nearly a vet and now (I think) works in the environment industry.
It appears that my young son’s fate is left to whether his parents genes have mixed together well enough to create the next star of An Inconvenient Truth - The Sequel.
So, I can sit here and fret about what might or might not happen, or simply wait until next week. Because by then he’ll have changed his mind and decided that he wants to be a double glazing salesman.