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Sunday, March 10, 2013

You want to be WHAT when you grow up?


Since I was a little girl, I've wanted to be a writer. I remember a now really embarrassing episode when I was in the bathtub. I called my mom in, crying because I was so happy to tell her I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up -- I wanted to be a writer. Then to show her how good of a writer I was going to be, I proceeded to sing a song I'd written..."Blowin' in the Wind." She tried to tell me that someone else had already written that and suggested maybe I'd heard it somewhere. But I was insistent and she was loving enough to not squash my dreams like a little plagiarized bug. I'm not sure how she kept a straight face.

Fast forward 30 years and I am a writer. Not of songs or great works of literature. But I make my living via the written word and I'm thankful for that. I'm also a parent of three kids who have their own dreams. In the not too distant past, one wanted to be an actress, one a NBA star and one a Target worker. "Great," I thought, "They will all be living with me for the rest of my life."

But I didn't discourage them. I talk to them about the realities of those choices, what it would take to get there. Like my mom, I don't ask them about plan B.

As Annie has gotten older, she's started to understand the challenges and realities associated with acting as a life choice. As the college pitches have begun to fill our mailbox, she's thinking about majoring in psychology and minoring in theatre. We've talked about the need to go to graduate school to be a counselor. Yet, she still has a dream to be on Saturday Night Live.

"Go for it," I've told her. And why not? The world is filled with miserable people who are punching a clock, selling things they don't believe in. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. She can do both -- create a career that pays the bills and pursue her dream in the off hours. She just has to be willing to be put in the work to do it.

Then there is my NBA star. Oy. That one is a bit further of a reach. I'm encouraging him to concentrate on making a high school basketball team first. But that NBA dream drives him outside to practice his head fake and jump shot. Mike's been talking to him about the idea of writing about sports if playing them for a living doesn't pan out. Yes, there are a zillion sports writers out there. But if that's his passion, then who are we to tell him to forget about it? It's our job as parents to recognize his passions and help him set a course for creating a life built around them. Besides, he's 13.

As for my little Target worker, if that makes him happy -- and he shares his discount with me -- that's fine by me.


Erica Saint said...

Sounds like your children are lucky to have a mom like you! :)

Beth Zimmerman said...

Such a sweet post, Amy! May all their best dreams come true!

@tracystevenson said...

Hi Amy. Great post. And we'll written :) it's always a erasure to read a well written post. I read a lot of blogs love a well written post now and again. Yours always fall in that category and funny too.
I've heard lots of "I want be-s" so far from my nine year old. I've noticed that he may be inspired by someone he knows as he is an observer. So I've heard robotics engineer. Chef. Scientist who studies black holes. (We know no astronomer ). But mostly I hope he notices that all these folks work hard at their passion and that is how they got there. My hope for him is happiness so I stand by and let him whittle through his discoveries. I too think it is a Moms job to fertilize an idea. A dream. As we know it all works out in the end :)

♥ Kathy ♥ said...

For your NBA wannabe.... A really encouraging book is...Salt in his shoes. Michael Jordan's mom wrote it about him. It's a picture book, your library should have it. I read it to my 3rd grade class every year. Great example of not giving up on your dream.

Amy said...

Thanks Kathy! I'll check it out.