Then, an English Teacher, because that sounded good, too.
Then, I said,
I want to live on a farm with a farmer, and have two Porsches, one white, one black!
That was a good dream.
Then I said,
I'll train guide dogs for the blind.
Then, Teacher again.
And then, Actor. Then Artist. Then Writer. Then Actor, again. Then
inexplicably, I went to law school
And all through law school, those crackle-dry years, there was art. Always there was writing. Always, I was creating.
I never lost that yearning, imaginative, hopeful spirit.
Until I said, Forget Law.
I said, Writer, again.
And ran away to America to become one.
Everyone asks you when you are young: "So, what do you want to be, when you grow up?"
It seems to be the only question some grown-ups can think of when they meet a child.
Who will you be, little girl? Down there in the distant future, in that faraway space you haven't lived yet?
Who will you be?
It becomes one of the most important questions in the world.
As I grew Up and Up, I thought,
I traveled, studied, married, gave birth, became a parent, then a homeschooling parent, and…waited to become the Who I dreamed of being as a child. The who I ran off to America to be.
I have thought, Almost, but not quite. Nearly there, nearly there, but not.
I have waited. I have realised certain writing goals, then made up new hurdles to make the Dream nearly impossible to achieve. Because reaching that elusive goal, it's everything isn't it? And actually arriving, that's when you can finally tell everyone you're there, right? That's when you can stop searching, reaching out. When you finally Are.
And when you finally Make It, isn't that when the light shines down on you; isn't that when the Hallelujah chorus begins? Doesn't the ticker tape come raining down then, and doesn't the crowd go wild?
My future looks nothing like I planned, and everything like I hoped.
I am a dream left, and found. A sweater unravelled and knitted at once.
I am unformed, forming and formed.
I am a thinker, dreamer, mother, wanderer, lover (of words, people, nature, life!). I am not the 'Writer' I thought I might be by now, but I am (and have always been) a writer. And so many other things besides!
Which gets me to thinking.
Our education system seems centred on creating Future Whos.
Built on building the Grown-ups children will become,
not the people they already are.
Kids learn what they are supposed to; they study and take exams; they prepare, prepare, prepare. Tick off the checklist to make sure they are getting closer, ever closer to the Goal of Becoming.
It is all a journey Towards.
Who will you be, little girl? A firefighter? A baker? An accountant? A photographer?
Hold up your dreams now. Tell me what they are, and we'll pin them, here, and here. Hold them up against you, so we can see what your future might look like.
Then the squinting. The tilting of heads to the side. Then the um-ing, and the ah-ing. The, hmmm, maybe? Then, Ah, yes, that looks about right!
Then the Who You Will Be is placed
some distance away,
with hurdles placed here, and here.
So the Becoming feels like an accomplishment when you get there.
Who will you be?
Tell me now so we can get you ready.
Tell me now, so we can chase your future down.
I love dreams. They are beautiful. I love the potential that tomorrow offers. So much to do. So much to Be.
But when can we turn to the children and say?
You are a poet. An artist. A woodworker. A musician. An inventor. An actor. A mathematician. A stuntman. An athlete. An entrepeneur. An astronaut. A superhero.