My son is learning about community helpers in his kindergarten class. He came home and proudly read me the little book he had made in class. The book, “I Can Be Anything,” is the motto I want my son growing up and believing wholeheartedly.
During their early years, children believe everything is possible. No one has told them that they are too short or too slow or too-anything for any one particular career. When my son was three-and-a-half years old, he began telling me he wanted to be a firefighter when he grows up. Now, he tells me he first wants to be (fill-in-the-blank), then he wants to be (a different-fill-in-the-blank). His fill-in-the-blanks have included: firefighter, teacher, scientist, doctor, and astronaut. I love his confidence, the fact that by merely stating it, he firmly believes it can be so.
People who know me well know that there were two professions that held my interest as a young girl: astronaut and teacher. I wanted to be an astronaut for most of my childhood. However, while in high school, I volunteered in an elementary school classroom, and fell in love with teaching.
But those weren’t the only two careers that sparked my interest. Some were random ideas I entertained, ideas that seemed so far-fetched to me, but so intriguing, that I never shared them with anyone. Until now.
- Horses. I realize horses aren’t a career. I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with horses. I just knew I liked horses (with my experience being limited to the Griffith Park Pony Rides and a couple of riding lessons) and thought I would enjoy spending my days working and being with horses.
- Marine biologist. I didn’t know this term at the time. I just knew whales fascinated me. Their size, their family loyalty, their strength, their gracefulness, their intelligence. I wanted to be out on a boat, in the middle of the ocean, studying these “gentle giants.”
- Air Force Pilot. I wanted to learn to fly a jet, to soar and zoom above the Earth. I also knew I didn’t want to be a soldier, engaged in combat missions or anything that wasn’t peaceful.
I began my teaching career believing, unequivocally, that “teacher” would be my only answer to the question, “What do you do?” Now, I know that I don’t have to limit myself. Without realizing it, my son has helped me see that I too can have one profession and then another. First, I was a teacher. Now, I am a writer.