WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP.  A question I often used as an icebreaker for classes and workshops.

The answers are usually culturally influenced but also generally idiosyncratic and many were still pursuing their childhood dreams while having faced the need to earn a living.

When I was in elementary school most boys wanted to be doctors, lawyers, or engineers; when my own children were growing up Rock Stars, movie makers,  or athletes seemed the dominant dream.

For women when I was a child it was a wife, mother, teacher, or nurse and usually in that order.  Those of us who did not marry upon graduation from high school, when to college not to get a B.A or B.S. but our Mrs.  I attended 22 weddings my Senior Year of College.  I didn’t get my Mrs and needed a job took the first one offered an English major with a learning disablity.  That job social worker.  In my heart, however, by then I wanted to be a writer

What did I want to be at eight or nine or ten?  A jockey.  I was inspired by Elizabeth Tayler in National Velvet.  In my naviete I didn’t know it would be another thirty or forty years before women were allowed to become jockeys.  I did know you couldn’t be a jockey and be very tall.  When I hit my pre-teen gruwth spurt I spent a few weeks trying to keep myself from growing.  I spent ten to twenty minutes each night with a the heaviest book in our house–a giant sized Webster’s Dictionary–Brown and Gold cover, musty smell, probably weighed five or six pounds.  My neck strenghtened, but I also kept growing.   Which is when I decided I wanted to be a writer.  Still do.

I think the proponents of “If you dream it you can be it,” have done a dis-service to the youth of today.  Watching auditions for American Idle breaks my heart.  I think I got good advice from my father–“You’ll have to work and if you are lucky it will be at a job you like.”  I have been lucky, I loved being a social worker and it did make becoming a writer more possible.

So what did you dream of being at eight, nine, or ten and has the dream changed?

Stay strong.  Share, care, work for peace for all.



  1. This is such a beautiful post. Your Dad’s words and my Dad’swere the same. 8 9 or 10…. I wanted to ne whoever I read about..first Pearl S Buck..a writer and daughter of missionaries.so I wanted to be a missionary…then a detective like Trixie Belden,..and a nurse like Florence Nightingale. I had confidence that God would direct me to where I should be..and the only time it did not work out is when I fought against what I should do. All in all I got some of it right!

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