“I want to be an artist so I can be rich!”

September 24, 2009

in no manual for parenting

“Mom, what did you want to do when you grew up?”

My 6 year-old asked innocently. This question stirs a lot of anxiety inside me, but that’s another post, if you are unlucky enough, I may indulge myself in one day…

He’s been really concerned about his future lately. He has pondered on being an artist for a long time.

“I really would like to be rich when I grow up. So I’m going to be an artist.”

Oh, boy. I tried to think back to all of the things I have ever said to him, since he was a fetus inside me, things that I have done or not, Is it because I didn’t breast feed him long enough?, that have caused him to become so materialistic. Have we been living a life of too much comfort that somehow has instilled a sense of, oh gosh darn it, greed in the upbringing of our kids? PANIC.

Great job, mom. I said to myself.

What to do? What to say? In my mind, I could picture myself running around like a headless chicken. Wings flapping. Cluck. Cluck. Cluck. Somehow this visual image of myself as a headless chicken or a deer with widened eyes is projected quite frequently on the back walls of my eye sockets…

“Hmmm. I don’t think being an artist will necessarily make you rich.”

How honest should we be with our children? Once again I wondered. Once again I had to make an uninformed split-second decision purely based on intuition, yup, the same one that helped me every time I purchased lottery tickets…

“Van Gogh was very poor when he was alive. I don’t think he made a lot of money by selling his paintings until after he died.”

Way to go, mom, for dashing your child’s hopes and dreams. Why don’t you just tell him to dream about being an accountant. Or an actuary. Don’t ever tell them to reach for the stars now Mary Poppins…

“Not even a house?” A look of concern crept up his face. “I just want to be rich so I can buy a house when I grow up.”

Ooops. Failed by overthinking again. Fortunately I am a champion in the sports of back paddling…

“Oh, yeah. Of course you will be able to buy a house. I would say though, you should do whatever that makes you happy and not worry so much about buying a house now.”

“Oh good. Because I was thinking that if I cannot be an artist, I would like to be a musician so I can be rich and buy a house.”

Oh, boy.  Here we go again…


Robin September 24, 2009 at 10:54 am

He should talk to my husband the artist, he’ll set your kid straight =)
.-= Robin´s last blog ..Top 5 Movie Characters =-.

Jane September 25, 2009 at 12:11 pm

I love a child’s perspective! My daugther one time asked if we were poor because we only had one TV. I told her, No. We CHOOSE to only have one TV. It is so interesting to me how perspective is shaped by us as parents, their peers, the media. But so beautiful that your son’s interpretation of “rich” is being able to afford his own house.
.-= Jane´s last blog ..Smilin’ Into The Weekend =-.

Country-Fried Mama September 25, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Ahh, the innocence of the young. He’ll probably want to be 35 other things before he gets through with high school.
.-= Country-Fried Mama´s last blog ..No jokes about death panels, please =-.

Absence Alternatives September 26, 2009 at 10:42 am

Robin, I have a degree in theatre. ’nuff said. LOL. :-)
Jane, I learned my lesson here: DO NOT overthink things. Sometimes they do have a very different perspective from adults. I wonder where the “transition” is, and I do hope that they never become so jaded when they grow up.
Mama, 😉 Man. According to my MIL, I just have to wait till 25 for everything to get better. LOL.

Jen @ NathanRising November 20, 2009 at 3:50 pm

My parents used to always tell me to do what makes me happy. It took me forever to figure out what that would be- but I finally found my niche. I’m not rich at all, but I’ve learned in my life that money doesn’t necessarily make ya happy. And I love, love, love what I do!

I bet you’re an awesome mom! I like how you handle your child’s questions!
.-= Jen @ NathanRising´s last blog…Boogers in Abnormal Places =-.

Absence Alternatives November 21, 2009 at 9:27 am

*blush* Really, I am not a good mom by my own judgement. I am too selfish. Spend way too much time on my blog! LOL. Your parents sound awesome!

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