What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

By Bill Lee

Readers of my columns know that I ordinarily walk each week day at Dillon’s Wellness Center.  Certain groups using the Center have been subjects of several columns mostly those of young people and especially those attending the annual summer camps.   I would hope that some of the parents of those attending these sessions would have taken time to check out some of the “art” work that the youthful participants created which is displayed on the walls of the walking area.  Since I walk daily around the gym area 11 times, or one mile, I have an opportunity to view it firsthand and find their creative efforts most revealing and interesting.
The young teacher in charge of the “art” program this summer had her charges work on certain themes such as Going Green (conservation), Music Makers (different musical instruments), Favorite Schools (DHS, DCS, USC, Clemson), Creepy Crawlies (using their inked footprints to create butterfly wings) Sports Week, Super Scientists, Super Heroes (both male and female) with individual commentaries along with Cartoon Day, Pajama Day, Myrtle Beach Wave Day and others.  In most settings, the student is given a prepared drawing and asked to color it.  I assume that there is some “lesson” the instructor incorporates in the coloring activity. There is not much creativity on some of these activities except for the individual coloring  schemes, but one activity caught my eye as I walked past them; closer examination proved insightful to me.
Keep in mind I do not know these children, except for one, I have never spoken to any, I do not know names, family or any personal information which might color my comments.  Each one is a blank page except for what I  see of their artistic expressions.
One particular display on the outer gym wall has posted about 25 standard sized sheets of paper that have been the ‘canvas’ for the child’s answer as to what he would like to be as a grown up.  The teacher, apparently, helped with the written identification in some cases, but the child was given free expression to draw what he wanted to be.  Since these are basically primary/elementary students, the attempts are commiserate with their age meaning some are extremely basic in their compositions.
The majority apparently want to pursue athletic interests since many of their efforts are identified as football and  baseball careers and even one as a softball player with appropriate artistic renderings. But there are others less predictable.  One little one is interested in being a summer camp counselor, evidently impressed by his/her experiences at the Center.  Another stated that becoming a police (man) was his wish and still there was one who wanted to make the Army (a soldier) his career path.  I assume the gender.  One budding entrepreneur has his sights set on operating a business, indeed one he listed and even named as selling/maintaining vacuum cleaners.  Watching the news on television has influenced one to aim for being a meteorologist, but no one indicated a wish to become a doctor, lawyer, teacher, housewife or Indian chief but there was one dirt bike rider. Then there were others mentioned: an engineer, a fisherman and a wrestler. Being young obviously means there are no limitations of what-I-want-to-be choices.
But it has been said that one should dream because if you don’t dream dreams, they can’t come true.
Fortunately there is plenty of time to nail down exactly what to pursue with life after adolescence.  If not, in this case, we are going to have a surplus of football players for sure.
As for me, I once thought I would like to fly airplanes until I went up with my brother who thought putting the airplane into a tail spin was exciting.
After a blessed safe landing, I decided I wanted to become a teacher.
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Bill Lee
PO Box 128
Hamer, SC 29547