Sunday, January 27, 2013

My childhood aspirations (Monday Listicle)

This week's Monday Listicles is "As a child, which 10 things did you think you would do or be?" Some of these were easy and some required a bit more memory power (which is lacking lately)!

1. Have children
I always knew I wanted to have children--as a teenager I babysat a lot and taught Sunday school and bible school. I formed close relationships with many younger children. Friday I heard a story on public radio (can't find it online) about a single woman who chose to have two children on her own (through a sperm donor). That's what I knew I would do, if I hadn't gotten married. I never had doubts about having children. I know I'm privileged to have had great parenting myself, which certainly helped me have confidence that I could do it.

With some of my students in Japan
2. Become a teacher
When I was an adolescent, I wanted to teach emotionally disturbed children (that was the term back then). That's hard to imagine now...I would never had had the patience.My dad was a social worker in the inner city schools, and a few times I went to shadow him and his colleagues. Then I decided I wanted to teach elementary school. But then I changed my major from education to English. The only teaching I've done is three years in Japan, but the situation was extremely different from how public teachers work today. I have eternal admiration for teachers, but I think being a writer/editor suits me better. Here are some posts I wrote a few years ago about how much I admire teachers:
In Praise of Teachers, Part 1
In Praise of Teachers, Part 2
In Praise of Teachers, Part 3

3. Sing
Similar to any young girl with a voice and a guitar, I did have some dreams of grandeur. Now I sing regularly at church and spend time singing with the kindergarteners every Friday morning. I also go to music camp every year!

4. Go to college
My parents both are well educated (my dad has two master's degrees, one in math and one in social work and my mom went back to school to get her master's in counseling when I was in junior high). I never considered not going to college and felt lucky to get my parents' support and encouragement. They instilled in me a love of and respect for education.

5. Help people who are less fortunate
As I mentioned, my dad worked in the inner city schools. I remember one time he brought home an African-American boy for dinner. (This was very rare, and I'm not sure what prompted this event.) I'm sure he must have felt tempted to bring home children on a constant basis. My parents taught us that it was our job as humans and Christians to take care of the less supporting a safety net for people who didn't have the same opportunities. They are why I'm a proud democrat and believe it's our duty to raise other people up when we can.

Eating gasoline-scented sandwiches in front of Central Park
 (and the Museum of Natural History), 1981
 (We traveled with tents and ice chest--
there was a gasoline spill in the trunk!
Can't believe we ate those things!)
6. Travel
After my parents graduated from college, they set off for Europe--to travel and then to teach and live there. I did the same--but I went in the opposite direction (to Japan). Even though my childhood travel was confined to car trips and within the contiguous United States, I loved hitting the road...and still do!

7. Spend time with my family
I grew up spending lots of time with my nuclear and extended family, most of whom still live in Oregon. Birthdays and all major holidays were spent with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. Family has always been so important to me, and I never doubted that this would continue into adulthood. It's changing, as my extended family is changing. I truly believe that family time is better than a clean house (although it would be very nice to have a clean house)!!

8. Work outside the home
We used to tease one of my friends in college, because she willingly confessed that she wanted her Mrs. degree. I was not averse to staying home and raising kids, but it wasn't something I necessarily wanted to do.  My dream is to work part-time someday instead of full-time! I think I would have been bored staying home taking care of kids all day. I admire those people (including my husband) who are able to do this...and I certainly believe it's ideal to have one parent at home, if it works.

With childhood friends (I'm second from right,
 and my sister is at the far right)
9. Be social
I'm a shy extrovert. I get my energy from being with other people. When I was in first grade, my teacher wrote on my first report card that I needed to spend more time on my schoolwork and less time socializing. (This reminds me of my children!) On Friday night I went to a wonderful women's dinner party given by a dear friend, and I was shocked to discover that it was nearly midnight when many of us left. I guess I'm feeling better! I am shy, though, when I don't know people...but once you are my friend, I let my guard down and open up.

10. I can't think of a #10, so I will twist this into what I never would have predicted about myself:

  • Live abroad for 3 years
  • Marry a Brit
  • Be mom to THREE boys
  • Be the primary breadwinner while hubby can write and take care of the boys
  • Write for a living
  • Feel so, so blessed--I can't imagine having a happier life!
Monday Listicles is sponsored by Stasha at The Good Life blog. Every week we blog about the topic of the week. Check others out at her site.


  1. Wow, good list. I forgot to include getting a university degree on my list, as it was just expected of me & my sisters. We all did too.

  2. Thanks! This one was a hard one...I'm sure I'll come up with others as I read everyone else's!

  3. What a wonderful, inspiring post. You know who you are and are satisfied with the path you have traveled. Wonderful. Ellen

  4. It's great that you've been able to achieve so much of what you set out to and are in such a good place in your life. Great, inspiring list!

  5. You certainly do seem to be very blessed! I admire your parents for the way you were brought up and I imagine you are doing a wonderful job with YOUR kiddos!

  6. What a great list! A very happy list indeed.

  7. I used to want to travel, except for that pesky little vaccines are needed to travel abroad thing. I don't like needles, as in pass out cold and launch into panic attacks umm yeah..

  8. #9 really piqued my interest, because I'm the opposite: an out-going introvert. It took me a long time to realize that other people drained me and that I needed to be alone to recharge, because I was so talkative with others that I assumed I must be an

    Blogging is ideal for anyone who isn't a super extrovert, because it allows you to control the pace of interaction. I'm curious if you agree or not?

  9. Thanks to all of you for your comments. Azara, my husband is an outgoing introvert! It's been a fascinating thing for us to discover about ourselves.

    I think that you have to be either extroverted or outgoing to be a blogger...because you have to be willing to share of yourself. I've talked to so many people who freaked out when I suggested they consider blogging!

  10. Teachers are saints in my book and I still wish I could sing. :)

  11. So creative! I'm pretty sure from a fairly young age I wanted to be a mom. My mom is great and I know I wanted to be just like her! :D

  12. Great List! I wish I could be a teacher!

  13. That's a great list! I too, am a shy extrovert. I love to be around people and be social but someone must draw me out of my shell first. :)

    Love your blog! Am your newest follower!

    Kate @

  14. What a great list. Sounds like a very interesting life so far that will only get more so. Those pictures were fun and the memory about the gasoline-scented sandwiches. I too came from a time when we traveled that meant taking a picnic lunch and not fast food.

  15. I absolutely love "family time is better than a clean house." It really is, isn't it? What a great list!