‘So what do you want to be
when you grow up?’
When I was a child, I always felt this immense pressure to perform. The ‘me’ I was supposed to be had an answer on the tip of his tongue programmed into him.
Being of eastern culture, we have this overwhelming propensity to respect our parents wishes and to work hard to fulfil their aspirations for us. ‘Us’, or ‘me’ in the equation is constructed carefully to suit the ideals and standards of the community and demographics they (parents) represent.
My answer had been carefully selected for me. What higher honour could one have than to be a doctor?
Doctor, Doctor, Doctor…… doctor……doct …..doc….tock……tick…..tock….tick….tock
Fast forward to thirty eight years of age, I am not a doctor. I learned many things along the way, studied a variance of the science, even studied mechanical engineering but I had to find out through my skin and soul that I did not want to be boxed in to anything. How could I when music, art and words were boiling in a cauldron pot inside me. How could I when I could see the expressions on peoples faces change, when I could see their bodies upright when they saw, heard or read something they liked? That exchange was far more interesting.
How do you tell a parent that thinks life is the sweat of their brow that the nights you spent up to three am staring at an equation was just because YOU enjoyed it, not because you had high aspirations of being a medical prowess? They just don’t get it.
We suffocate our children with expectations. We place large burdens on them because we mostly don’t have the foresight and character culture to know what we want let alone what they want.
I tasted that and won’t push that on to my children.
Admittedly, I ask my children what they want to be all the time. My question is not preloaded with an expectation though. My question is loaded with love and genuine curiosity to see where their minds are at because I am interested in their version of ‘ME’. I want to know at every moment what tree their souls sit under waiting for the apple to drop but I don’t care if it’s a pear that drops instead, heck I don’t care if it’s a watermelon or just a leaf.
My kids are mostly introverted, they enjoy their solitude and are comfortable being on their own, doing things without the need for people but are perfectly comfortable in groups as well.
We must get out of our heads the need to force an outlandish socialisation factor on children. They don’t have to be vivaciously social and extrovertly animated in public. They don’t have to be the life of the party and play all team sports if they don’t want to. It’s ok to be shy, it’s actually the foundation of manners and respect. Reserving ones self to the benefit of others is called chivalry and it begins with silence, withdrawal and reservation in ones speech. These are not traits to look down on but rather to encourage.
Builder, gun engineer, racing car driver, burger shop owner, mother, ballerina, Russian, and the best one…. Viking, their answers change all the time. Babies, whatever you become, you will always be mine.