Did you have a role model growing up? I mean someone other than your mom or dad?
I did – it was my godfather. He was a doctor. He died tragically in a car accident when I was 13, but even before that, I knew I wanted to be like him. I wanted to be a doctor. I never actually saw him working as a doctor, except when I would go see him at his office for a cold. But somehow I knew what he did and I wanted to do the same. My mother always tells me that when I was about 3 years old he put a stethoscope in my ears and let me listen to the sound of my own heartbeat. She’s convinced the seed was planted then.
It’s “Occupation” week at my daughter’s pre-school. The school sent out a notice asking if any parents would like to speak to the class. Of course, my husband volunteered me. I took daughter to school today and spoke to her class. Imagine about 20 sets of eyes staring up at you, eagerly awaiting what you have to say. I was scared out of my mind. There I was, frightened by a group of pre-schoolers. How absurd! I hadn’t really done anything like this before. I didn’t know what to say! Husband actually coached me a bit. I was just going to go there and talk about being a doctor but he suggested I ask the kids questions instead. It was a bit of a gong show – I mean, how long can a group of 3-5 year olds sit still? About 2 minutes, I learned today.
As an aside — I have nothing but the utmost respect for early childhood educators. Reigning in a class of 20 3-5 year old children requires a special kind of patience. It is something I lack. Good thing I’m not a teacher!
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. One of the reasons I was so nervous is because it suddenly occurred to me that I’m the grown up to these kids. Something I say to this group of children might plant that seed of hope, determination and drive. One of those kids might decide to become a doctor because of me. (I hope it’s my own child, but that’s another post!) It dawned on me that I am the potential role model! It’s a little unsettling. I still think of myself as the 20-something girl working her ass off to get into medical school.
But now I’m a mother, a professional, a responsible adult! A role model.
When did that happen?