By: Mia L. Hazlett
One question I’ve continuously asked my daughters is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” With my oldest, since she was about five, she has always replied, “A teacher.” Over the years she has become very exact about which grade she wants to teach and why. She wants to become a second grade teacher, “First graders and below have the possibility of wetting their pants and I don’t want to have to deal with the MCAS with the other grades.” She takes the extra papers home that the teacher leaves for the class and plays school. She’s already researched the degree she will have to obtain to become a teacher. And ultimately, she’s been surrounded by her aunt who is a teacher and myself who first worked in higher ed and then elementary and secondary education. I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I used to take her to work with me and it may have been that consistent exposure at such a young age, which assisted in her decision, but who knows. But I like the fact that her family is her role model. Trust me, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and Justin Bieber, constantly assault my ears in the car, but as of yet she hasn’t said she wants to be a singer. And quite honestly I wouldn’t deter her from that path if that was her dream.
My youngest is a different story. She’s five and has gone from wanting to be a princess, to a pumpkin, to her favorite character, Ariel the Little Mermaid. I mean she does have the chance of maybe one day marrying a prince. She carried the nickname pumpkin since she was born, so that’s a parental fault. Then there was Halloween when she was two and three that she dressed as Ariel. Lord let it be her age so I don’t end up hunting down princes twenty years from now.
Last night I sat for almost an hour with my oldest as we edited her three page essay. Over these past two weeks she has seen me editing my book proof. I would tell her she could sit with me, but I needed to concentrate so no noise. She respected this and all the while observed and retained what she was witnessing. As she handed me her paper last night, she told me, “I want to edit this like you edit your book.” I didn’t hold back and we went through the paper word-for-word. I showed her my number system for editing and she caught on real quick. She questioned how to use quotation marks and where to put the comma. I loved when she told me she was overusing the word, “went.” Then she told me writing was really hard, but she really wants to learn. My point is, I’m so happy I was able to share my heart’s passion with my daughter, but I also didn’t have to Google some superstar name and try to find their bio. I knew how to teach her what she wanted to learn.
In my heart of hearts I feel parents need to be an integral part of goal setting in their child’s life. I’ve continuously asked my daughters what they want to be and provided them the tools to hopefully one day achieve their (well at least with my oldest) goals. She used to come to work with me when I was in education and she’s gone with my sister to her classroom. I’ve done nothing but encourage her focus on becoming a teacher. Now she could turn eleven and tell me she wants to be a pumpkin too, but I’ll cross that bridge when and if I come to it. Only meaning, if it changes from teacher to something else, I’ll do my best to get her the tools to become the best at what she chooses to be. My youngest does have some strong legs as she continues to try to swim with them tightly together. Sometimes I don’t have the heart to tell her she not a mermaid, because she’s trying so damn hard. Again Lord let it be her age.