When I grow up I want to be a garbage man.

3 Mar
Flexible Yogi

Flexible Yogi

I saw on someone’s Instagram a picture of their toddler with the biggest grin on his face standing next to a man in a high-vis jacket and a truck. The captions said “X is going to be the best garbage man ever! This has been the best day of his life.” I thought this was pretty awesome, to be happy when you kids are happy no matter what it’s for. I am pretty sure as an HR professional she doesn’t really want her son to be a garbage man but she is supportive because that’s his current passion. Lupita Nyong’o said in the Oscar acceptance speech on Sunday :“When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid. ” 

It got me thinking, no kid really wants to be a doctor, lawyer, CEO or any other boring high paying job.   They want to do things are exciting.  For kids the idea of riding around all day at the back of a big truck and getting to jump on and jump off all day is pretty awesome, getting to do all day is even better. Playing dress up and prancing around in pretty dresses whilst playing princess with mum’s make-up is definitely a day well spent. So where do kids get “When I grow up I wanna be a doctor from?”, probably from their parents.

At the moment I would say Malaika wants to be a kickboxer , yogi or gymnast. The kicking, stretching, toe eating and lunging is exhausting even just to watch! If she lived in the ‘days of yore’ should could be the town crier because the squealing and announcements though currently unintelligible, certainly grabs your attention.

At the risk of losing your interest let me elaborate… Many people don’t get to ‘do what they love for a living’, they don’t get to make money out of something they are passionate about. Most of us have to pay the bills and end up doing whatever it is we need to do in order to do this. As we all go through life we go through the hierarchy of needs as theorized by Maslow: physiological, safety, love and esteem. Few people go beyond these basic needs to self-actualization, the latter I imagine get to do what they are passionate about and its no longer about the money its more psychological. But you must have the luxury of money to make these decisions.

So I ask myself now, as parents, what if Malaika glorified being a waitress, artist,model, singer, cleaner, actress or other perceived fickle or hard-to-succeed profession?  Will we be as supportive as if she wanted to be a surgeon, scientist or lawyer? A waitress could move through the ranks and end up owning a chain of restaurants, an artist could sell their works for millions of dollars (hopefully in their lifetime), a model could have the luxury of not waking up for less than $10 000 as famously declared by supermodel Linda Evangelista, a singer could become an influential multi-millionaire like Beyonce, a cleaner could end up owning a cleaning franchise or a chain of hotels, a young actress could end up an Oscar winner like Lupita Nyong’o. At what point do you discourage your children from pursuing dreams….should you do this at all? Every situation may be different but as a parent are you the one person who ought to support your children no matter what…

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