When I was a child, I and all of my friends ‘knew’ what we were going to be when we grew up (at least for a few days before we changed our minds), but to my knowledge only one of us accomplished her childhood goals. She wanted to become a teacher and she did.
I haven’t seen her for years but she has often come to mind as I have spent the last fourteen years homeschooling my children. I would think, “What if my children knew exactly what they wanted to be; I could teach to that area and they would be way ahead of the game.” But this hopeful fantasy has yet to come true.
My eldest wanted to be a clown, a rock star, a chef, and a policeman. Just when his father and I were sure that what he was really going to be was a permanent resident of his bedroom and semi-pro video game player he decided to become a Paramedic and is now only one year from attaining that goal.
I have all sorts of ideas as to what my children should be. I see them show interest in a particular area and I run with it, only to be bewildered and dismayed when they lose that interest and turn their attention to something else.
But I have learned that my childhood friend was the exception to reality. Most people don’t have a clear idea of what they are going to do with the rest of their lives when they are in elementary school, or middle school, or even high school. We as parents and educators can guide them, but we can’t force them. Once they are out of the proverbial nest it’s all in their hands.
There is a cliche’ that says Let Go and Let God. I never liked that because the one thing I like is to be in control. I hate to see my children make mistakes that could have been avoided if only they would have listened to me to begin with. But that isn’t freedom and what is more cherished than personal freedom; the chance to have our own failures as well as our own successes.
Yes, they are going to have some crazy ideas (like wanting to be a dinosaur) but they are usually just that, ideas, and they will eventually grow into the person they are intended to be; even if it’s not what you intended for them to be.