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Careers and Little Kids

While at Curves, I usually work up a heavy sweat after getting in the groove of my workout, mostly thanks to the music played since it makes me move from my soul. The music usually takes me back to the days when we had parties and dances. Needless to say, I am usually in my own little world.

But even with the music playing, it is hard not to listen in to the conversations I hear nearby. Sometimes I just join in and other times I don’t say anything. This was one of those times I decided to only listen.

The tall lady with the long dark hair was telling her friend about her 19-year old son who was traveling throughout Europe and Russia playing some kind of special drum. Sounded interesting so my ears perked up.

“When my son was about 2, he just started playing a drum using whatever toys or boxes or trash cans he found in the house,” the tall lady confided.

“Wow,” replied her friend.

“Double Wow!” I said to myself silently.

Now I am really paying attention to this story.

The tall lady goes on to tell us that her toddler son even had good rhythm while beating on his make-believe drums. She nurtured his interest in music and when he got older he even studied drumming in India. But she was quick to add that he had not been a superstar with academics and although he had graduated from high school, his grades weren’t that great. Drumming was his passion and somehow – I was across the room by now and couldn’t make out much of the conversation – he had managed to find a couple who needed someone to provide drumming for their performances. Her kid was not only seeing the world, but also staying with the couple’s wealthy patrons wherever they performed.

Sounded like a sweet deal to me and I started thinking about how sometimes people know exactly what they want to do before they are even 5 years old. I don’t know about you, but I was 12 years old when I discovered that I wanted to be a journalist. I am not even sure that I knew back then if I really understood what that meant, but I loved to write and somehow came up with this profession.

Because I had figured out my career path at an early age, I assumed that this is what happens to everyone. Was I ever shocked when my younger brother had graduated from college and still didn’t have a clue what he wanted to do! He got a degree in communications and had even worked as a part-time disk jockey, customer service rep for AT&T and a claims adjuster for an insurance company.

Then, just like the drumming hit the lady’s 2-year old, my brother suddenly decided in his mid-20’s that he wanted to go to graduate school for urban planning. He loved it, got a job with L.A. County and after a few years he started his own successful development and property management company in partnership with some of his friends.

What a lesson for his older “Miss Know-it-all Sister” (that would be me). This taught me that we are all different when it comes to picking a career or knowing what we want to do when we grow up.

As a young mother, watch to see if your child is showing a special interest in something that you want to encourage. It may not become a career path, but it could remain a part of his or her life as a hobby. Or if your kid is like my brother, just be patient. Sooner or later, they will figure it out. Sometimes it’s a spark of genius at an early age; sometimes you just stumble into your passion later on in life.

But, whatever you do, let your kids decide their own path and not one you have carved out for them, or you will be surely disappointed!

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