What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

Growing Up Quote

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.

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The Time Has Come

 

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Well, it’s almost come. Four days to go and I feel completely frantic. I’ve been sorting and packing and sorting and packing and I still seem to be getting nowhere. It’s a little like preparing for a baby. You know it’s coming but not for nine months so you wait and wait and do nothing. Then you feel those labor pains and it’s like an episode of I Love Lucy.

Ricky is fighting with Fred over who will get the cab, Ethel can’t get through to the doctor and they all leave the house without Lucy. That’s how I feel, like every time I think I’m getting somewhere I run into Fred’s pot belly and fall back on the couch again.

But just like having a baby, he’s coming whether you’re ready or not. So I’ll do my best to prepare and follow my To Do List and just hope I don’t run out the door leaving the mother behind.

Letting Go

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Another clearing out.

 

There seems to be quite a lot of interest in belongings. How many you have, how many you don’t have. There are entire shows dedicated to people who hoard everything from used toilet paper to beautiful artwork. And there are those who delight in whittling all their earthly goods  down to one hundred things.

I think that I fall somewhere in the middle; possibly leaning toward the toilet paper-saving hoarder. Well, not quite that bad. I’m more of the “Don’t throw that away because I might need it some day and then I will just have to buy it again.”  As opposed to the “I can’t throw away my dog’s hair because I’m throwing away part of him.”

Preparing for this radical lifestyle change has been a real challenge for me. I had a library’s worth of books and a studio’s worth of art supplies that I just didn’t want to part with. Telling myself that if I haven’t used it by now I probably never will just wasn’t cutting it. But my 17 year old daughter Chloe has had no trouble at all. She has pared her belongings down to one tote and still finds more to dispose of. You should see the looks she gives me when I refuse to let go of an old Mother Goose book. “But you could have it for your children someday,” I tell her.

I am slowly and with much resistance learning from Chloe to live for today and to live light. Because we don’t own the things, they own us.