Throughout childhood, one of the most common questions asked to children is, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer to that question was always the same; a pediatrician. I didn’t even know how to spell pediatrician. Nor did I know all of the responsibilities that came with it. I would say, “I want to be a kid’s doctor, but I don’t want to be the one to give needles.” Girl, bye. I hated Science with a passion. But I knew that it sounded good. Think about the amount of times you got asked this question by an adult when you were younger; did you ever reply with more than one job title? Or did you limit yourself and stick with that one profession? “A teacher, a doctor, a veterinarian, a lawyer.”
As someone who works in the education field, I am disappointed in myself for ever asking this question. As an educator, leader, mentor, influencer, older sister, and future mother; never again will I ask a child what it is that they want to be when they get older. I remember volunteering in Kenya, I asked a little girl this question and she replied, “I don’t know.” Truthfully, it frustrated me a bit. So, I tried again; this time she responded, “I want to be me.” You mean to tell me, a five year old doesn’t know what she wants to do with the rest of her life? Crazy. I still wasn’t satisfied with her answer, but it was one of the most powerful answers that I could have received. I continued to press, and asked for a third time, “if you could be anything in the world, what would it be?” This is when she told me that she wanted to be a teacher. I would love to not only share this story with her in a few years and see where her passion led her, but apologize to her as well. Apologize for trying to put her in a box and limit her to just one role.
If you asked me today what is it that I do; I couldn’t respond with just one title. I have many different interests and passions; ranging from an author to a philanthropist, and many more. And if I was forced to choose one, I wouldn’t have it. There are a number of ways that I plan on achieving my why, and fulfilling my purpose. So let’s start asking our youth what makes them happy, or what frustrates them about this world; get their wheels turning on how they are going to be a force.
The little girl from Kenya lived in an orphanage; yet, she was beyond happy, respectful, and grateful. She kept a beautiful smile on her face. I once heard; “adulthood is meant to finish the unfinished business of childhood.” As a kid, there’s not much we can do with the cards that we are dealt, and pain that we experience. My pain was not having a relationship with my biological father growing up, but it didn’t hit me when I was that five-year-old girl, just like her. The little girl in me wasn’t aware of the significance that the lack of a father-daughter relationship would have on my future. Not knowing where my father was, if he thought about me, loved me, had other children, and if so, why them and not me? They were thoughts that didn’t run through my mind until I hit my teen years. But what I do know now is that I used that same pain I felt as a teenager, as an influence to make a difference in this world. My “why.” Becoming an adult, it soon became my responsibility to heal that womb because I now had the power in my hands. I was going to be able to share my story, and have others relate to me.
So many people are affected by their childhoods. Honestly, everybody is affected by their childhoods, but not everybody recognizes it. A child’s development sets the foundation for their future. Once adulthood comes around, the ball is in their court to make change for themselves. The moment an individual accepts the fact that child injuries have less power in their current adult lives, the sooner they will be filled with wholeness. Take authority over your life, and never let current circumstances define your future.