“I yam what I yam and that’s all what I yam”
Or so Popeye used to say in the cartoons I watched when I was a kid. And while there’s something comical and fun about these words, I believe they really do sum up how each of us starts life with certain characteristics that we can never really let go. My Mom gave birth to me in about two hours flat and she said “You came out fast and you really haven’t stopped since.” I could describe how each of my four kids’ births define them, but it would likely segueway into some discussion involving bodily fluids and other gross descriptors.
Instead, I’d going to analyze the traits we see our children displaying from toddlerhood up, and the potential careers that might be naturals for them, incorporating both their positive and challenging personality quirks.
1) Judge: For the kids whose mantra is “It’s not fair!”, this would be the perfect position to allow them to see that while indeed Life is Not Fair, they at least would get to help out someone, plaintiff or defendant, whose entire argument consists of “It’s not fair. You like him better.”
2) Lawyer: Requires great skills of negotiation (“Just one more cookie?”), tenacity (“Please please please please please”), and, let’s just say it, the ability to push one’s own agenda through (“I won’t tell Joey about the last cookie. He doesn’t need to know.”) Also excellent at getting Mom and Dad to take physical dares at cocktail hour. (My toe is healing nicely, thanks.)
3) People Manager: Must have the ability to listen to many sides, negotiate with kindness and fairness, give tough evaluations with a gentle hand, and know when to make difficult choices in delegation and rewards. (Note these same qualities are also awesome for Mothers, especially those on the PTA, to have.)
4) The Arts: Perfect for the child who excels at writing on walls, making guns out of toast, using all the scotch tape and cardboard in the house to make the best parking garage, squirting toothpaste in the style of Monet, and skilled at the ability to imitate Mom and Dad when dancing, singing, or “parenting”.
5) Scientist/Engineer/Inventor: This is a terrific profession for “The Why Guy”. Most families have at least one of these. The little person who says “Why?” about 27 times an hour. We call my Why Guy “Question Boy”, and he wants to be an engineer when he grows up. He thinks they are superheroes. With pocket protectors.
6) Government Employee: If you’ve got a child who loves to line up a bunch of little cars on one side of the room, just to move them across to the other side to line them all up again, you might just have the perfect candidate for an Ottawa job. If you spent 200% more for the cars than you had to, you’re in for sure.
No matter what our kids choose to do when they grow up, or more to the point, whatever chooses them, here’s one more piece of advice: they could grow up to be a writer, like me. It could be your word against his…and his sister the lawyer.
Kathy Buckworth’s latest book is “Shut Up and Eat: Tales of Chicken, Children and Chardonnay”, and is available everywhere books are sold. Visit www.kathybuckworth.com or follow Kathy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kathybuckworth