The Other I

August 11, 2010

Childhood grows up

Filed under: The Younger Generation — theotheri @ 4:15 pm

In the supermarket this morning, I overheard a conversation between a boy about age 7 and a woman who looked like his grandmother.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” she asked him.

In one of the those grown-up voices that makes one wonder sometimes if children are really only rather short adults, he answered:  “I want to be an archaeologist.”  Then after a short pause, “Or an astrophysicist.”  We moved out of earshot as he was explaining to his grandmother what archaeologists do.

What a great change since I was a child.  It’s not just computers and the internet and i-pods.  It’s the scope of possibilities.

At seven, I thought my options were to be a nun, a teacher, or a nurse.  Or just a plain old mother which even then I knew I didn’t think was exciting enough.  (I know:  I apologize to every mother for this gross misunderstanding.)  Later I added the options of social worker and secretary.

So I opted to be a Maryknoll nun because working with the poor in underdeveloped countries seemed about the most exciting challenging thing I could imagine.  And of course it came with the extra advantage of social kudos from those who thought it was truly a holy God-given vocation that had been bestowed on me.

I consider myself to be extraordinarily fortunate.

But I wonder what my young self would have answered “what do you want to be when you grow up” if I were seven years old today.  Like every seven-year-old I would have a lot to learn.  Some things don’t change.  By the time you are seventeen, you know a great deal more than the previous generation.   Yet it’s amazing how much ones parents learn by the time one is 27.


1 Comment »

  1. If this sounds scary, think another generation or two up. Johnny or Jane who is born today, would probably name a profession at age 7 or 8 that we do not even know today.


    Comment by budavar — August 11, 2010 @ 5:12 pm | Reply

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