‘Mum, I’ve decided what I want to be when I grow up!’
‘Wow!’ I thought – ‘surely this is going to be a proud parenting moment… perhaps he wants to be an astrophysicist, a vet or an historian’.
I turn to face my eleven-year old son, full of anticipation.
‘I’m gonna be a con-artist!’
‘Right…’ I reply, scrambling for recovery. I have never aspired to having criminal offspring.
Fast forward a month.
I’m in the car with my wannabe hustler discussing the reasons for doing well at school. He tells me he understands that a good education helps with getting a good job. When prompted to explain what ‘a good job’ is, I get to have my proud parenting moment after all.
‘A good job is one you enjoy and that earns you enough money to live’ he says. ‘I want to be like you Mum. No offence - you’re not exactly rich, but you do get to do work you love. That’s what I want to do one day,’ he concludes.
This may sound insignificant, but it was enormously meaningful for me. My son knows first hand that I have chosen to live with an intermittent income, an alternative lifestyle that sometimes resembles being in love with a psychotic belly dancer. It can be wildly exciting and terrifyingly uncertain. My kids have no choice, but to join me. In tough times, with a sense of guilty reproach I wonder if perhaps they’d rather have a conventional lifestyle, with all its trimmings.
So, con-artist or astrophysicist, the ‘take home’ is that whatever my son chooses, he’s already aiming high – towards a job that provides enough financially, but a wealth of non-monetary reward to himself and others.
He understands that following his passion and thinking outside the square is where true fulfilment lies.
Here's to daring to live like that!