I remember when I was a little kid. Every family gathering included a dozen grown-ups staring at me, saying “what are you gonna be when you grow up?” I don’t really remember when I settled on lawyer, but I do know I went along with that idea because everyone was quick to point out that I was an exceptional arguer. If you said the sky was blue, I’d tell you it wasn’t; and if I got you to agree that it was not blue, I could then support the idea that in fact, it is. I’d argue either side and never run out of supporting notions to ramble on about. The more people said “you’d be a great lawyer someday” the more I thought “yep, that’s what I better do.”
Life has a funny way of changing course. When I got older I decided being a lawyer wasn’t truly my passion, and I know in some ways it broke my mother’s heart, but she got over it. After hearing all the lawyer jokes I’ve heard in my life, I’m kind of glad I’m not the butt of those jokes! As my kids have grown up, I have tried to repeatedly remind myself not to get stuck on any idea of who they might be when they grow up, just in case they decide to change directions too.
My Blondie has this dream of being a singer. I tell her all day long, “go for it.” Some people ask me “what if she fails?” To which I say, “what if she doesn’t?” When she graduated, a lot of people wanted to talk to me about her future. Some people thought I was right to encourage her dreams. Some people think I should force her to go to college instead. I say she should follow the path that calls out to her, because I believe that’s the path God has laid before her. I have a total sense of peace that if she follows her heart, it won’t steer her the wrong direction. She doesn’t have to sell 5 million albums to become a success. All she has to do is spend her life sharing her passion with the world. If she uses her gifts, she’s a complete success.
As I came to that realization that college just might not be for her, I started looking down the line, wondering, what does the future hold for the rest of them? So I’ve had a few conversations with the rest of my zoo crew.
“Tucker, what do you want to be when you grow up?” I asked, expecting him to say something like doctor or scientist. He’s a math wizard and a really bright kid, so his answer gave me a belly laugh. “I was thinking a massage therapist or a party planner.” When I asked where he got those ideas, he explained that massage therapists make about a hundred dollars an hour, which would pay for the car collection he plans to own, and that party planners always get to stay for the event. I was pretty amused with that.
Today, the subject came up again and the kids were asking me how to decide what to be. I said “you have to find the thing you love the most and then find a way to be a part of it.” My niece Ashley quickly said chocolate is her passion. Then I learned that Tucker is also considering becoming a video game tester, so I guess it’s good that he’s keeping his options open. My youngest boy seems to have his mind made up though. He’s given it much thought, and he’s decided that he’s going to work in a grocery store. His brother knew why, too. Trenton said “that’s so you can eat all the food.” To which Jordan replied “yep, as soon as I do whatever my boss told me to do I am going to sneak in the back and eat the cookies.”
I guess I have a grocery store cookie monster on my hands… but that’s still better than growing up to be a lawyer!