Monday, February 21, 2011
The Next Generation
I heard part of the discussion from downstairs. Emma's grandfather began asking her about her plans for the future. There was talk of Emma's passions for music, theater, and writing, and several questions about college. I smiled. I did not need to hear the entire conversation for I knew what each of them would say. As expected, Emma had solid control of the conversation, even when her Grampy started warning her of living in a big city. She spoke of her ideas for her future but admitted to still needing time to figure everything out. But she made one point clear, "I feel I have to at least try, Grampy. I can't give up before I try". That's my girl.
The conversation touched me on many levels. First, I was proud of my daughter who has a good head on her shoulders but who also has developed a confident spirit to guide her to those moments when it takes extra courage to leap to the unknown. At the age of 15 she is exactly where she should be, dreaming and thinking of all the possibilities for the future. There is plenty of time for her to solidify her plans later. Secondly, I smiled at my Dad's protectiveness. I inherited this quality from him, no doubt. But he's doing exactly what he should be doing, speaking logically and rationally about the risks and challenges of big city living to a young grand-daughter from a small town whom he wishes to keep safe. Finally, I appreciated what he said next. "Maybe you'll even do as your Mom did. She's passing on her talents to the next generation by being a teacher".
My daughters both know that I too contemplated a career in the fields they are presently exploring. But they also know why I changed my mind and ultimately became a teacher. My Dad knows these reasons too. For despite my passion to act and sing, what I wanted most in this life was to be a happy wife and a good mother. Sure, I am proud of having become a teacher also, and I continue to aspire to write and sing and act on stage in my spare time, but my greatest achievements will always be my marriage and my three children.
What do you want to do when you get older? I want to be like my Dad. (No, I don't wish to graduate from Maine Maritime Academy, be a midshipman, or retire from Great Northern Paper Company after many years as a Groundwood Superintendent). I want to continue taking care of my family as best I can by showing them honest concern and attention for the rest of my life. I want to be that parent, or someday grandparent, who slips a few bucks into their hands when they come visit, who invites them to play a game of pool so as to have opportunities to talk and play together, who sits down on the couch on with them and asks, "What do you want to do in your future?" Yes, I want to pass on my talents to the next generation, just like my Dad.