There are not many of us pursuing the dream careers we fantasised about as children. As a parent, i am all too aware of not letting one misguided remark influence the entire future aspirations of my children. This can actually happen, hence the burden of responsibility that is parenthood. How many autobiographies have you read where the author followed what their parents ideally wanted of them and were happy about it? The same goes for teachers, my university lecturer scoffed at my ambition. Sir Jackie Stewart’s teachers didnt rate him but look what he achieved.
So when my daughter starts talking about what she would like to do ‘when i grow up’, i listened without passing judgement but telling her what it would take to achieve particular career choices. For example she said she wanted to be an actress and that she would need to go to theatre school from age 11 or 12. I said we couldnt afford to pay for a special school so the best way to attempt to get in was via a scholarship. The best way to get a scholarship is to do LAMDA exams. “But that would be torture”, she said. I replied that if she felt that way it might be best to think of another route to acting. “But i really want to go to drama school”, i said she shouldnt put pressure on herself too early on in life as it gets tougher as you get older so enjoy being young when you can. But i soon realised you dont know how good you had it when you were young until you are grown-up so that was particularly useless advice.
She then rattled off a list of things she would like to do including: actress, racing driver, writer, midwife or maid for a rich person. She then asked which of the two ideas i liked best. I refused to answer as i said it was ‘entirely your choice’. She then begged me to answer her but i refused and said ‘the best advice i can give is do what you enjoy and the job will come and find you’.
I just hope she doesnt like watching tv and eating crisps to the extent that she waits for the job to arrive.
In the Tarantino film Jackie Brown, De Niro says to Bridget Fonda ‘you need ambition’ (or something along those lines) and she replies her ambition was to ‘get high and watch tv’.
I am blogging for Unicef. Thanks for reading.