Friday, May 10, 2013

what do you want to be when you grow up?

i love how conversations amble along…you start in one place and end up down the street in a completely different neighborhood. yesterday, silas and i had a conversation like that. we were in the car on the way home from the orthodontist and somehow we started talking about moving, i think because scotty is finishing school this year and there was some brief discussion the night before about “what if we had to move away if he got a job somewhere else, etc.” he asked why people always want to move to new york (i had mentioned something about how when i was young i thought i would move to new york and be a fashion designer…you can stop laughing now!). so i told him how a lot of specific culture (entertainment, culinary, etc.) is concentrated in particular areas and if what you love and want to pursue is in one of these places you are likely going to want to go there. like hollywood and new york, they have opportunities that are different than other places. maybe. it really depends on a lot of variables. he asked where you would move if you wanted to study bugs, specifically preying mantises. i said it would depend on if you wanted to study on your own or go to school. in the former you would probably get loads of books and go to a place that had a particularly high concentration of preying mantises, maybe find a mentor to work with/for. in the latter you would want to find a school that had resources and curriculum that appealed to you and maybe that had a very specific and specialized focus on what you wanted to learn. oh i also said at the beginning of the conversation “if you wanted to be an epidemiologist…” and we both were like, wait no that’s not right, that’s skin…and then simultaneously we said “entomologist!!”  so there’s that. he said he read that you don’t even get considered for a job as an entomologist unless you have a master’s degree.

then i asked him if he ever thought about these kinds of things, like if he wanted to study something specific one day or even go to school for something. he said he thought about studying bugs (that’s when i said, oh that’s why you knew that about the master’s degree! and he said yeah…). but he said he might just study them as a hobby. and i proceeded to tell him the image that studying bugs as a hobby brought to my mind (it had to do with buggy ickiness and basements and possibly baldness…don’t tell anyone i said that!). and he thought it was horrible and said he didn’t want to be bald OR have a basement…ever. and that he would never even live in a house with a basement. if a house had a basement he would say no thanks. also attics. no attics. no places in a house where you don’t go very often and are dark. and i said you could tell the realtor you would take the house but they had to fill in the basement with cement. and he said no it would just still BE THERE. okaaaay, moving right along…i asked what about garages and he said garages were okay. (i did not say anything about how bugs are mostly in dark places where people don’t go very often).

i think about this stuff a lot…my kids’ interests, their passions. and the question kids get a lot…what do you want to be when you grow up??  i don’t ask that one often. i am really so much more interested in what makes them excited right now. i don’t always ask that one either, but i am always paying attention for signs of it. i think asking “what do you want to be/do?” is often a stumbling block. i’ve seen eyes go blank and sometimes even fear and then shrugs. but ask a kid what they are excited about RIGHT NOW…that gets way more enthusiastic responses. they know the answer to that one. the other is just too far away for some kids to even contemplate. and why should they? there are far more important things they can be thinking about and spending their time doing. right now, the possibilities, discoveries and wonders are endless.

i believe that if kids are let alone enough to explore and supported enough to further their interests that they will come to ask themselves that deeply profound set of questions: “what do i want to do…what do i love doing…what will i becomewho will i become…who am i right now??” and that is a far greater thing than any other, to be able to ask yourself these questions and have the space in which to find your very own answers.Share