I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.
I turned the question around on my children, after they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. (see “When I Grow Up“)
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I asked Grace. She squirmed a little in her seat. I wondered if someone else had recently asked her that question, which is why she asked me, and also why she was uncomfortable.
“I don’t know,” she finally said. “What do you think I should be?”
With her older siblings when this topic has come up, we have talked about their interests and their passions. I rather avoid the whole job outlook and pay-scale aspect of career path. I think it’s important they choose something they are interested in, something that makes them come alive, something that goes with their natural giftedness. Everything else will fall into place after that.
“Well, you love books. I think you should do something that involves books. You’ve talked about wanting to have your own bookstore or being a librarian. I think you’d be great at something like that,” I told her.
“But they’re so lame,” she moaned.
I cringed to think about all those librarians who had fascinating, rewarding jobs, but were now considered “lame” by this teenager. I decided to change the topic.
I turned the question to Hannah, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I want to be one of those girls who puts flower necklaces on people when they arrive in Hawaii,” she answered without a moment’s hesitation.
I started laughing. I looked in the rear-view mirror at my blonde-haired, hazel-eyed daughter. “Usually they have native Hawaiians do that,” I told her. “You don’t really look like a native.”
“I’ll dye my hair,” she answered, like her hair color was the only issue. “Or, I’ll be one of those people with dogs at the airport who come around and sniff luggage.” I’m sure she was talking about the dog sniffing the luggage, not her. “In Hawaii,” she added.
Hannah spoke with such confidence about her career goals that I wondered if that was what put Grace off. Hannah knew exactly what she wanted to do. It may change a dozen times between now and adulthood, but Hannah has a confidence and self-assuredness that even I long for.
Then I realized it was the actual career choice. How exciting does a librarian sound if you’ve got a sister who puts flower necklaces on people at the airport in Hawaii? Pretty lame.