I feel having children spread out over so many years gives me a wonderful opportunity to observe a child’s changing views on all aspects of life. It is interesting to see how their ideas and perceptions transform as they develop.
It seems my children found everything new and exciting when they were young but as they moved into their teens and beyond they seemed to become more practical as they learned more about the world around them and what it would take to live their dreams. There is nothing wrong with that but I wonder if they are 1)selling themselves short or are just plain 2)inert. I wonder if somewhere along the line my husband and I, the society they grew up in, or a little of both have failed them in some way.
My youngest daughter, Elizabeth, who is seven, has so many jobs she would like to pursue. Everything from working at a gas station, because she likes the smell of gasoline to becoming a horse trainer, even though we don’t own any horses and she has never been around them much. She wanted to be a dancer but became 3)apathetic towards 4)tap and ballet classes when she discovered it took a lot of practice. Right now, she loves Girl Scouts and really enjoys it.
Seven year olds are not practical and shouldn’t be at this age. They should 5)test the waters and try any 6)venue that is appealing to them. As parents, even though we may not always have the finances to aid them in their 7)callings, we can give them our support and check all possible ways so that they can get an idea what that occupation 8)entails.
My middle daughter, Katie, who is almost 15, is all consumed with being a teenager accompanied by the 9)impending driver’s license just 10)around the corner. When she was Elizabeth’s age she wanted to be a marine biologist and work with the whales and dolphins but she hated taking care of the pets we had at home.
As soon as Katie started high school, she tells me she feels pressured and is 11)grasping at careers that will take as little amount of schooling and money as possible. So I guess marine biologist is off her list. Right now she is considering 12)flower arranging and a 13)veterinarians assistant. Again the aspect of animal care 14)comes into play.
Mari Ann, my oldest daughter, just turned twenty. She loved to dance and still does but she stopped lessons in middle school. She always loved organizing and heading projects. By the time she got into high school she announced she wanted to become a professional tourist. I asked her how she would finance her travels and she answered me with, “I’ll take pictures, Mom!” Mari Ann never seemed interested in photography and never took one photography class in high school. After graduating she was eager to get a taste of adulthood and decided to wait before starting college. She tried a number of jobs and wound up as an assistant manager at a discount card store and seems relatively happy.
Mari Ann also feels that any career that requires a college degree and pays less than $25,000 a year is not worth the amount of time and money spent. On the other hand, I feel that if an occupation is something you will enjoy doing for the rest of your life then it is worth it. I guess Mari Ann is more practical than me.
Our children were taught that once they started something they had to finish it. They are not quitters but they have become non-joiners. Deep down inside we all know the easy way out is not the best way ninety-nine percent of the time and anything really worthwhile takes hard work and devotion. Then why are so many people taking the 15)quick fix more and more? Reflecting back on it now, I see there are many factors that have come into play. The fast paced and instant 16)gratification society that we all live in is truly 17)taking its toll on children and adults alike. If you are hungry there is fast food. If you want to buy something there are credit cards. If you are sick of looking at your spouse’s face there is no fault divorce. It has become a way of life even if you, as parents, have tried your best to instill commitment, dedication and good hard work ethics.
The “have to have it and get it now” mentality is very appealing on the surface. However, in the long run it leaves you feeling unfulfilled, 18)fat and financially over extended. No wonder why people feel so depressed about their lives.
In some ways it seems like a million years ago and in other ways it seems like it was just a blink of an eye that I held each one of my girls in my arms. Newborns are so sweet and innocent with the whole world lying at their feet. I remember asking myself what would their special contributions to the world be or, in other words, what would they do with their lives? Where would their individual likes and dislikes take them and how would their father and myself guide them on their journeys? Maybe if material things weren’t becoming easier and easier to acquire the wrong way, then perhaps the spiritual side of life would own its rightful appointment in the scheme of life.
I want my children to learn that everything has a price and eventually it will have to be paid. There are no easy ways out in life. When they fully understand that, then this Mom won’t be so worried about her children’s vocations in life.