Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Shattered Dreams

Growing up, I had lots of ideas about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would have the ideal career lined up in my head, and the first time someone told me something negative about that particular job, I quit even thinking about it.

Here are some of the careers I had picked out, and the questions/comments that made me change my mind:

Veterinarian- "You know how they have to take cows' temperatures, don't you? In their butts." I was 10. Thanks Kim

Professional ballerina- "You really don't have the body to be a dancer." Thanks Ms. Curran, former dance teacher, for essentially telling a 17 year old that she is too fat. I still have a complex about my weight.

Elementary Teacher- "You are responsible for their education. You are responsible for teaching them how to read, add, and become normal human beings." Thank you, to my professor in college. No really- THANKS.

The list could go on and on. For some reason, I'm a quitter. If it seems like it might be difficult or too challenging, I quit without even trying. I turn tail at the thought of being a failure. I listen to others' negativity, without seeing the silver lining.

I don't like that about myself.

I'm afraid that I see it in Maddie. If she is playing a game and it becomes too hard, she gives up. But, then again, she is just about the most stubborn child I have ever seen. I'm hoping I can teach her the right way to use her stubborness and to go for her dreams. I want to encourage her to be whatever she wants to be.

If you were to ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, her answer is instantaneous. "I'm going to be a singer and play the piano. In Johnny Cash's band."

That's right. Not Hannah Montana's or the Cheetah Girls, but Johnny Cash's band. She's got big dreams, all right.

I'm all for encouraging her. She has a keyboad that she bangs on while singing "Ring of Fire" and "I Walk The Line."

When, exactly, do I tell her that Johnny Cash is well . . . dead?

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Bren said...

Haha! Nah, don't tell her.

Irene said...

I don't want my kids to be unrealistic about their careers, but I also don't want to take away their dreams. My mom was a bit controlling. She didn't want me to leave our small town, so my jobs had to be one that would allow me to go to college and live at home and work in our town.

Where did Maddie get the idea of playing with the "late" Johnny Cash? So funny!!!!

Karen said...

I've wanted to be a vet, too. It was the 8+ years of schooling that turned me. Although I still think I'd love it.

I think I'd let her find out on her own that she will never be in Cash's band. Let her live the dream.

Kellan said...

No - don't tell her. That is too funny!! I'd love to hear her singing and banging on the piano - how cute! I also wanted to be a vet - my dad is a veterinarian. Loved this post - see you later. Kellan

Kimmylyn said...

One of my best friends son wants to be Johnny Cash, so much so he wants the theme of his four year old birthday party to be Johnny Cash..
Too cute.

Adrienne and Jim said...

I LOVE that she wants to be in Johnny Cash's band. Wish we could see video of her banging away at the keys and singing Ring of Fire. She's too cute.

I was also told I shouldn't be what I wanted to be many times. You won't make any money at that (teacher)...You will have to pay too much to go to school to do that (pediatrician)... etc. Well, I make the salary of a teacher and still have 70K in student loans. Did I listen? A little. But, one thing my mom always told me was that I could whatever I wanted to be if I just set my mind to it and worked hard. She always encouraged me to get out and do things, to leave the town we lived in and to see the world. I really appreciate her doing that.

Part of Maddie's problem with starting and then giving up may be that she sets high expectations for herself, which is not always a bad thing but can lead to frustration when it doesn't work out the way she wants it to. I was the same way and Jim too! I cried in first grade for missing a word on a spelling test. Jim got mad at David for coloring outside the lines. This characteristic can lead to a very driven and successful person or can be so frustrating that she gives up. The hard part is finding the median. I would encourage her to stay with whatever it is she's wanting to quit and tell her she can do it (if it's something she can of course) but also tell her she doesn't have to be good at everything or it's okay to mess up. You know?

kimmie said...

Sorry I ruined that idea for you, but I really thought that piece of information was important. You are not too old to be a vet.

suchsimplepleasures said...

maybe she will make a remake of the song!?
hey...i had the same dreams...ballet dancer...my teacher told me that i wasn't built for it but, i could consider teaching it.
teacher...i dropped out of college!
i totally get what you're saying! and...i'm seeing the signs in my oldest son...and, i'm not happy about it!!
i wish i had advice to give you...

Amy said...

I am crying.
laughing and crying.
How can he be dead? I just listened to his rendition of Danny Boy yesterday!

Toni said...

Oh, NO! Don't tell her yet.

I, too, am a quitter-type. I am 32 and still working on that first degree. I could finish within a few quarters but am stringing it into a year because God knows what I will do when I am done.

I also see this in my daughter, who is 8.

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