Throughout your school years, you’re going to hear a lot of people ask you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
If you respond, “a doctor,” or “a lawyer,” you’re likely to be met with responses like, “That would be excellent!” and follow-up comments about how much money you could make if you chose such a profession.
And while the intentions behind such a question and these responses will generally be good, I want you to know right up front that if you answer something like, “an artist,” “a theater actor,” “a writer,” or another profession that will not necessarily bring you such financial freedom as a doctor or lawyer might, I will be standing behind you, rooting you on – and super proud of you.
What’s more, if you choose to be a stay-at-home mom, a stay-at-home dad, a missionary or some other unpaid role, I will be super proud of you just the same.
You see, it’s not about money. The truth is, finding happiness in life is never really about money. Finding happiness in your life will come when you realize that no matter what you’re doing with your time, with your life, you’re doing it because it’s what God intended for you to do.
How will you know that you’re doing the right thing? You’ll have a passion for it. You’ll love doing it. Some days, depending on what you decide to do, you might do it for your own personal benefit, and you might even catch yourself saying, “I would do this work even if I weren’t getting paid for it.” If you’re a full-time parent, you’ll want to do nothing more than stay at home to raise your kids. You will know in your heart that that is what you were meant to do.
You have a lot of years ahead of you, and it will be much more important for you to be happy than it will be for you to be well-off financially. If you do something you enjoy and for which you have a passion, you’ll enjoy getting up in the morning. You’ll have the energy to get through your day. And you’ll be able to be present, mentally and physically, for your family when the day is done.
On the flip side, if you choose to do something just because of its financial reward, one day you might very well wake up and realize you dread going to work. It will take every ounce of your being to get through the day. You’ll lose confidence in yourself. And you’ll be miserable when the day is done. Your relationship with your spouse and your kids will suffer. And life will go downhill from there.
So, Gabe and Ella (and any future children, if God blesses us so), please know that I encourage you to follow your hearts and your true desires when choosing what to do with your lives. Don’t worry that what you choose to do will disappoint me or your father. It won’t. I promise. And never use the word “just” when describing what you do (“I’m ‘just’ a stay-at-home mom,” or “I’m ‘just’ a starving artist,” for example). Because if you’re doing something you love to do, you will do it with all of your heart, and you will be successful – and happy. And ultimately, that is what we want for you.
I love you.
2 thoughts on “So, what are you going to be when you grow up? A letter to my children”
I concur. It’s heart-warming to read this encouragement from a parent, your children are very lucky to have you. I let go of a promising career in teaching (ok, so not the best paying, but certainly stable) to be a writer, and couldn’t be happier with my decision. I hope your children find what truly makes them happy (whether that be an artist, a doctor, or something in between).
Thank you so much, Zenobia! I did something similar – left a full-time job as communications director to be able to spend more time with my family and work part-time as a freelance writer, graphic designer and photographer – and I’ve never regretted it! Thanks for the encouraging words!