I was (mostly) kidding about not wanting smart kids. Here’s a stickier dilemma:
This weekend our city had a “touch a truck” event so that kids could see a firetruck, garbage truck, police car, etc. up close. Raisin’s favorite was the firetruck, including a female firefighter who asked Raisin if she “wanted to be a big girl firefighter.” Raisin did.
Now, when I was about Raisin’s age, I wanted to be a taxi driver, which I am not now and have never been, so I know it’s a little early to be worried about her career choices. Still, the moment gave me cause to think: what will I do if she does want to become a firefighter?
Firefighters are noble and brave, which are characteristics I would love to nurture in my kids. They also run into burning buildings and climb huge ladders and stand on roofs that collapse and send them plummeting to their deaths. [Firefighter offspring + worrywart mother = heart attack.]
When I was 22, I considered joining the Peace Corps. My mother hated the idea. My mom and I rarely fight, but that one was a doozy. I was a grown up (kinda), and I was the one who decided not to go — I can’t “blame” it on my mom. Nevertheless, the incident left me with the impression that she didn’t fully trust me to make a good choice.
Maybe a wise mother makes sure her kids are considering all the angles, and then she just has to shut up? There’s a fine line between parental guidance and talking kids out of something you don’t want them to do, I suppose, once they are old enough to make their own decisions. If I had to, I hope I could let Raisin fight fires, or go to Africa for a year.
But, then, what if Apple wants to be a police officer? What if he will carry a gun, and possibly use it to take a life?
What if Orange comes home with an Army recruitment brochure? What if she believes it’s her duty to fight for her country, even at the behest of a president like the one we have now?
How much maternal influence would I wield then? Assuming my kids would be susceptible to my powers of persuasion, what weapons would I use to keep them from a decision I didn’t want to support? I cannot imagine a circumstance in which I’d be willing to destroy my relationship with my kids, so how far would I go?
What would you do?