What Dreams May Come

I don’t have dreams for my children.

My mother wanted me to work as a doctor. My father wanted me to work as a journalist. My kids are 3 and 5 and people have already started trying to guess what professions they will have as adults.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

The more I think about it the more confused I am by that question. We pretend that we’re asking what job they would like to hold, but we’re not. We are - all of us - so steeped in capitalism that we cannot separate the person from the production. And this programming begins before preschool.

What do you want to be? My kids cannot be anything other than what they are, what we all are - miraculous humans.

What type of work would you like to do? Why the hell does a five year old need to be thinking about that?

What are you interested in? What is fun to you? What do you dream about? How would you like to change the world? Now those questions sound like fun. And if I know my kids at all their answers would probably be hilarious and involve cheese.

I don’t know if he’ll be an engineer like his father and grandfather. I don’t know if she’ll be a dictator at 30 the way she is at 3. I don’t think that because he’s dramatic I should put him in acting lessons or that because she likes to run around the house I need to get her onto a track.

We’ll discover it all together. We will screw it all up and they’ll get pissed and hurt and I’ll cry and we’ll learn something new and get it right and have a blast and screw it all up again. And one day they’ll walk out of this house and it will be the very last time that they live here. On that day I hope that they are the most them that they can be.

So, I guess I do have dreams for my children.

Graeme SeabrookComment