Are parents supposed to be guardians or dictate what career path their children should take?

By Ivy Maloy

Growing up, I wanted to be a bunch of things, usually it changed almost on a daily depending on something I’d learned in school, someone I had met or a cool fact I learned or heard about on a particular profession.

I remember I wanted to be a shopkeeper, my reasoning was based on my thinking that I could eat all the sweets and chocolates in the shop. Of course I did not understand that that is not how a business operated but as a child you have a simplistic view on everything. Of course my parents were not happy on my ‘career’ choice then and they told me to dream of being a doctor, just about anything but not a shopkeeper. So I did my research on being a doctor and I liked it.

I decided I will be a doctor, but then I fell ill and was taken to hospital. At first I was really excited, and I remember even telling the doctor that I wanted to be a doctor when I grow up. What changed my mind, was that I had to undergo a series of long tests and a lot of injections. That completely changed my mind as I was really not impressed of the job description of a doctor. I did not want to be the one who injected people and made them cry and again i opted for a different career choice.

This time I thought why not become a teacher? But, my then best friend discouraged me by asking me if I really wanted to administer punishments to students and make them cry, give them too much homework and classwork, the reason seemed valid so I automatically change my mind and decided to ask my big brother what he wanted to be. He refused to tell me claiming that I wanted to copy him, you know how siblings are, and told me to get my own thing.

So,how was your childhood like? Did you make any career plans or were you told whom to be when you were growing up?

I got frustrated because every time someone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up I did not have an answer, and I did not want to say something I did not want. During the holidays, I went to visit my grandfather, he had just retired from the military and he told us stories and the missions he went to. It all sounded so cool, these are things I had only watched in movies and I knew I had finally found my calling. So I went back home and told my parents that I wanted to be a soldier like babu, mum was not very pleased and immediately said no, she told me that I was very young and that I would find something else to do. But this one stuck, I really wanted to be a soldier, I would even watch action movies to learn more about them.

Are parents supposed to be guardians or dictate what career path their children should take?

But of course my mum was right, I met an air hostess and immediately fell in love with them. Their grace and beauty was so appealing I spontaneously imagined myself as one and knew this was it. Of course this time round it was my dad who had an issue with my career choice, he really hates flying so he put his fears into me. He told me about airplane crashes and how nobody ever survives. Of course hearing that I absolutely dropped all my hopes and dreams of flying.

Over the years I kept changing my mind, never really sticking to any career choice. I have no idea how I even ended up deciding on a career in media. As much as my parents kept discouraging my dreams as a child, they have been really supportive and always pushed me to be better. This is a shout out all parents who let and support their children’s dreams, for their encouragement every sort of support. Of course no one at a any age knows exactly what or whom they want to be when they grow up but we have to be present to guide them to make the right decision into something they will enjoy doing as a career path.

Dear child, don’t be afraid to dream, dare to dream and as Lupita Nyong’o said, No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid.

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