Every parent loves the “my baby is so smart maybe one day she’ll grow up into a…” game. The tot who hums along to your lullabies might one day be a musician; the older sibling who loves helping his younger sister tie her shoes might grow up to be a teacher.
But occasionally, our children possess qualities that are not exactly the ones that we brag about on the playground. Some of these traits might be exactly the ones that end up serving them best later in life.
So – just for fun, and while our kids still let us pretend we have any control over their lives – let’s imagine some bright futures for our children.
If your kid likes to: Yell “That’s not fair!”
They might be: A Social Activist
Does your kid have a keen sense for inequality? Can she size up the pieces of cake that you served her and her brother and instantly tell if she got the smaller one? She might be a Social Activist in the making. Sure, right now her attention is focused on whether or not she has been slighted, but that’s pretty typical for children. Help nudge her energy to other people who might need some attention, like that kid standing alone on the playground.
Reading material for your future activist:
“I am Rosa Parks” by Brad Meltzer
If your kid likes to: Refuse to get out of the bath
They might be: An Officer in the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association Corps
If your water-lover has a sense of adventure and a love for science, he might be interested in becoming a commissioned officer in the NOAA Corps. NOAA might be best known for its weather forecasting, and being the people who routinely tell us we just had the hottest month on record. But a select group serve in the NOAA Corps – the smallest uniformed service of the United States Government. NOAA officers sail ships and conduct research in areas such as oceanography and fisheries science.
Reading material for your future officer:
“Far From Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage” by Sophie Webb
If your kid likes to: Snub new foods
They might be: A Famous chef
Maybe your picky little tyke just hasn’t found the exotic combinations of food that will whet his appetite. Blackened tilapia with a mango chutney and truffle-oil French fries, anyone? Perhaps it’s a stretch, but children’s tastes change as they grow older. Getting them involved in the cooking might make mealtime more enjoyable for everyone, and even inspire a new passion.
Reading material for your future chef:
If your kid likes to: Pick up every bug she sees
They might be: A Forest Ranger
Do you have a budding naturalists who wants to you to identify every insect, worm, and spider that crawls across her path? Your backyard naturalist might soon set her sights on broader ecosystems. While this hobby might gross you out, if her fondness for creepy-crawlies combines with a love of sharing her knowledge, she might find joy teaching others about the natural world.
Reading material for your future ranger:
If your kid likes to: Tattle on siblings
They might be: A Journalist
You don’t need to know exactly what type of candy your budding investigative reporter’s younger sibling was sneaking behind your back. All you want to do is read the latest headline from the Washington Post in peace. Muckraking is annoying when it’s in your own home, but when someone else is telling you about the inner-dealings of politicians and celebrities, it’s fascinating. The desire that everyone knows the truth might serve your tattler well one day.
Reading material for your future journalist:
“The Daring Nellie Bly: America’s Star Reporter” by Bonnie Christensen
If your kid likes to: Overcoming every baby-proofing contraption
They might be: An Engineer
My littlest has always been fascinated with anything he can manipulate with his fingers. From unwrapping cough drops he finds at the bottom of drawers, to taking batteries out of flashlights, he always is looking for something to fiddle with. Being proud parents, we would find ourselves cooing, “Maybe one day he will grow up to be an engineer!” When our older son caught him systematically dismantling a carefully crafted Lego creation of his, he yelled out, “No! You cannot be an engineer when you grow up!” But we still hope he will.
Reading material for your future engineer:
“Rosie Revere, Engineer” by Andrea Beaty
It would be great if our children took our career advice. But for now, it might help to at least look on the bright side of some of their less endearing attributes. They might end up being what makes us the most proud one day.