What do you want to be when you grow up? It's a question we often ask small children. I don't really know why we do it- if you are anything like me you still don't know the answer to that question, or when indeed the 'growing up' will happen.
When Bobby was 3 she wanted to be Prime Minister. She could see how much I struggled with parking, especially in multi storey car parks, so decided that, to make me happy, when she grew up she would be in charge of the country and flatten all 'squiggly wiggly' car parks.
From the ages of 5-12, after a brief spell of wanting to be a Jedi, she wanted to be a spy for the government. We endured 7 years of having traps set as we entered doorways, having listening devises set up through walls and having to decipher codes, before she eventually went off the idea.
She then went through a brief spell of wanting to be a doctor, although not liking blood, hospitals or medicine was a huge drawback.
Peter has always wanted to be an actor, however after his triumph as 'Understudy Lord 4' he has had a rethink as he doesn't think he could cope with the paparazzi. (Who knew 'Understudy Lord 4' would turn out to be such a popular character portrayal?) He has since wanted to be an animator as he can indulge his creativity but still retain a degree of anonymity. His animated series 'The Annoying Slug' gives a weird and wonderful glimpse into the autistic mind, particularly the episode where the Annoying Slug escapes from the Daleks in a model of a VW Camper Van.
The best answer to the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" came from one of my pupils, who answered,
"When I grow up I want to be Santa because I am jolly, I have a very loud 'Ho Ho Ho' and I have a belly that wobbles like a bowlful of jelly."
Me: "It's very seasonal work though. What are you going to do for the rest of the year?"
Child: "Well, there are the reindeer to feed, the elves to look after, toys to make..."
Me: "Yes but that still won't take you a whole year.
Child (thinks): "I'll be Santa for the winter, autumn and spring. In the summer I'll work at Butlins as a wrestler."
Can you imagine the excitement of kids on Christmas Eve when the catch sight of Santa, and then the slight, doubtful pause before they ask, "Wait a minute... Didn't I see you at Butlins?"
Today: Lead by example
My friend asked her daughter what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her daughter replied,
"When I grow up I want to be a mummy so I can shout at my kids and go to Tescos."
My friend was mortified. "Is that all I do Amy?"
Amy, after a 'thinking pause', "Um..Pretty much."