Wednesday, October 17, 2012
One little question . . . and a bunch of hope.
You know how it feels when you hear something and you know, somewhere deep inside, that you won't ever forget hearing it? I had that experience yesterday, and I'm delighted about it. It's a bit of a life changer, I do believe.
The last few weeks I've participated in a parent class/discussion at my kids' school. It has been a good experience, with meaningful conversations and much to consider when I leave the group. I'm thankful and grateful to know that the folks around me are just guessing at this 'life' thing, too. It feels better knowing I'm not the only one who is hypothesizing in child-rearing and life and relationships and all of the other things that get tricky.
The class has been helpful in making a few things more concrete, and I like that. Maybe because I taught kindergarten for years or maybe because my brain just needs assistance, I like pictures - I like lists - I like simple ways I can remember difficult things.
Yesterday I heard a question in a completely different way. "What do you want to be when you grow up?" was the question. Just plain ole' that. Nothing fancy. Nothing out of the ordinary.
The belief of the instructor is that that very question may be the most important one we can ask our children, and maybe anyone.
Why? I wondered the same thing. What's the big deal? The big deal is that the question offers the answerer hope that they will grow up and that there is something bigger to live for.
I love it - I really do. We can ask that one little question and change things? Well, I believe so. I guess it doesn't much matter whether the answer is a cowgirl fairy go-go dancer princess or a medieval knight who fights fires on the weekends. The point is that it matters, that there is a future, that you have a vision. I'm all over this thing, folks. I'm taking it on the road.
I'm thinking back over long past conversations with my kids and the trillions of kids I've known. I'm remembering their various answers to the age-old question. (I've been smiling a lot during this thinking.) I remember asking the question when my girls were tiny, and I'll never forget their answers. Emma wanted to be a cashier at Kroger and she wanted Daddy to be her bagboy. Molly wanted to be a doctor and she wanted me to be the 'sticker lady' at her office. Their answers have changed 1,567 times since then. Molly realized she didn't like blood or needles and Emma realized the life of a cashier seemed tough. That's not the point. The point was that those little tiny souls knew way back when that folks cared about them, that they would grow and grow and grow and they had a vision of the future.
I sit here now, wondering about the simple ways I could change things - you could change things - if we but wondered, alone and with others, about what we want to be when we grow up? I wonder at the ways I could offer hope to those who need some and the ways I might help someone formulate a vision when it's needed. Sometimes we need a vision, a big and bright one, for way in the future. Other times, I realize we all might just need help with the next five minutes or so.
I'm liking this newly attained tool. I'm liking how it makes me think, how it slapped me in the face, woke me up and said, "Look at things with new eyes!"
What do you want to be when you grow up?