Every September our daughter asks her children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The eldest, at six, wants to be a ballerina and the second child, four, wants to be a fairy. Lofty goals indeed.
I remember the days when I thought about my future. My parents stressed the importance of an education so I would be able to support myself. I knew my education would continue past high school. They left the decision to me as to what I’d do.
Maybe nursing school I thought. I considered it for a minute and volunteered at a hospital as a candy striper. An encounter in a burn unit nixed that idea. Nursing school was out.
I had zero interest in secretarial work beyond improving my typing skills. Instead, I went to university, which fueled my desire to learn, but what would I do beyond that science degree?
I enjoyed science but couldn’t imagine working in a lab for any length of time though I was fascinated with embryology. It was the field I would have pursued if I could have tolerated time in a lab, but it was not for me.
I decided to become a teacher and with an extra year of university, off I went to teach in a mining community in central Newfoundland.
I limited my career considerations to the traditional female roles. I didn’t consider anything else. As it turned out, I made a good choice. With the exception of the last few years, when the job changed a great deal, I enjoyed working with high school students. I lucked into the right field!
Now I look at our two granddaughters and wonder what they will do. One of the saddest things about getting old is not being around to see what becomes of them. The few who do are fortunate.
Last week, my husband and I took four year old, Caitlin, to the library to hear stories about firefighters. She also met a firefighter, sat in a fire truck and saw the equipment.
In our youth, there were firemen, not firefighters. That day, the librarian and the firefighter spoke about women in the profession and referred to the woman at the local department. Caitlin will always have a broad perspective of what a woman can do.
Today, people mention women in the profession because it is a relatively new concept. One day, as younger generations take their place, it won’t be mentioned. It will be the way it is.
Caitlin enjoyed the experience. She received a hat,
a colouring book and crayons and some to take home for her sister. We went to lunch as well. She picked out the next place we’ll eat after we see a police officer next week.
Meanwhile, the family pet, Georgie is not too pleased with the hat she had to wear. That animal has no interest in becoming a fire house dog! She is content with her current occupations as hair shedder extraordinaire and chief barker.