When I was her age I determined that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.
And while I’m still waiting to reach a modicum of emotional maturity, I did manage to eke out a living producing nuggets of prose like this for going on 30 years.
But my 11-year-old daughter is keeping her options open when it comes to settling on a career path.
Sitting around the kitchen table one night, she started asking me what I thought she ought to be. She got a pen and paper and started making a list so we could weigh the pros and cons together.
At the top of the list: Pirate.
Parents, of course, are supposed to encourage children in their ambitions.
But I had to tell her that piracy is, as a rule, a dangerous job practiced by not very nice people. And what pirates there are today tend to get shot at by the U.S. Navy, which is something one should avoid if possible.
So she wanted to know if she could be a good pirate. Well, I said, I guess Robin Hood was essentially a pirate on land, and he tried to help people who needed help.
Yes, she said, she wanted to be a good pirate. She even wondered if she should write a letter to President Obama and offer her services to our country.
Sure, write the president a letter, although I warned her that he probably gets a lot of mail and may not be able to write her back.
Next on her list of potential careers: Gypsy.
OK, that would be kind of fun to just travel around and see the world, but I suggested to her that it might be a pretty tough way to make decent money.
She then went off on a career tangent leaning toward artistic endeavors: Model; singer; dancer; belly dancer.
I just sort of nodded and said, “Nice.” I did tell her though, that I don’t know for sure, but I kind of think that belly dancing probably doesn’t pay very well. If you’re a professional belly dancer living in mansion, let me know I’m wrong and I’ll pass that along to my daughter.
Rounding out the list were more practical pursuits: Veterinarian, chef, animal rescuer.
Now, while she has never shown much interest in helping dad when he is creating culinary masterpieces at home, I let it pass.
She does love animals. Always has. And coupled with a lifelong fascination with medical procedures, I told her I thought she would be a great veterinarian.
And you know, dear, I said that animal rescue is something people do for love, not for money. I told her that she could help rescue animals no matter what job she ends up doing.
We got a little silly toward the end of the conversation and talked about how she could be the chef on a pirate ship while taking care of parrots and whatever other animals pirates might collect. She could also sing and dance for the other crew members. Pirates do those sorts of things in movies, don’t they?
Anyway, of course no matter what she decides to do with her life, I told her I would be happy as long as she is happy doing it.
But I was secretly relieved that she didn’t want to do something really stupid like become a writer.
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