Sometimes I sit back and think about the writing I’ve done, the number of times I’ve deployed, and I ponder my future plans. I can’t help but wonder if all this was supposed to happen or if I was somehow pushed into doing it.
Do you ever think about this?
What was I supposed to be?
I have no idea what my parents wanted me to do with my life. I don’t believe we ever discussed it. I have no idea if I was remotely interested in writing as a child. I don’t think I was. My things when I was little were dinosaurs and archeology. I even wanted to do marine biology before I realized that I couldn’t swim at the time. And, as a child I hated the military. I can imagine it was because my dad was gone a lot, though I don’t remember much from that age.
Is it written already or do we as parents write our child’s fate?
I wouldn’t necessarily say our career choices are fate, but I do believe to some extent that our choices and circumstances follow some sort pre-destined path. This weekend, I thought about this concept and it started me thinking about my kids. Are they following some sort of path also? Am I somehow pushing them into a future career—even inadvertently?
My youngest watches us podcast, blog, and do all sorts of social media stuff. Is she going to do the same because she is so used to it being commonplace in our home? Is she going to be a crafter because she sees and helps her mom do it? Our oldest had grandiose plans of world travel and interior design/fashion. Right now she works as a waitress, but she has serious business smarts. When asked once what she wanted in life, she said she wanted to be on the cover of Forbes. She didn’t say to be a famous model or realize some romantic princess-esque dream— Forbes! Did we have anything to do with this? Was she destined to be on an entrepreneur’s path already?
I know what we are supposed to do as parents… I think…
I know we as parents should allow our kids to express themselves and help them find what they do well. I know we have to be open-minded and encouraging. I know we can’t let them believe that they will one day be kings or dragon slayers. We have to be responsible and pull back the veil of innocence and let them see the world for what it is.
The questions I ask myself most often are these: How do we know what the necessary tools are to give them that will allow them to follow their own dreams, yet be successful at accomplishing them? Do we steer them or let them carve out their own interests? Where do we draw the line at telling them they can or can’t be what they want to be?
Do you know? I would love to hear what you think.
Note: The name of this post was inspired by a quote from Damon Wayans’ character in The Last Boyscout. He toasts to his dead child, saying things like “to Alex the Astronaut”. His reasoning when questioned is that his child could have been anyone or done anything. We simply never know what our children will grow up to be. We also don’t truly know how to help them realize these goals. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel somewhat small in the grand parenting scheme.
The Last Boyscout image was retrieved from ht tp://www .film-intel.com/2010_09_01_archive. html