When I was little, I wanted to be a Dalek. No joke.
I used to wander around the playground at my infant school during lunch times, my cagoule’s hood pulled tight around my face, exterminating fellow pupils.
Surprisingly, I was mostly alone in this pursuit.
If I wasn’t being Doctor Who’s most awesome enemy I would be pretending to be a plane. Arms out for wings, air forced through pursed lips for convincing facsimile of a Spitfire’s Merlin engine, interspersed with the staccato “ack ack ack ack” of my machine guns.
Needless to say, twenty-five years on, I am neither a Dalek or a plane. If I was the former you’d be dead by now, and if I was the latter I wouldn’t be able to talk. Or type.
All of which means, I suppose, that I am not one of the 15% of children who (according to BBC Breakfast) manage to end up being what they wanted to be when they were young.
Not exactly a surprising figure though, is it? They were asking eight year old kids. Even the most forward thinking eight year old isn’t likely to say “well, I’ve considered my options carefully. Given my relative academic strengths, and with due consideration to work life balance, plus of course the need for financial security, that ideally I’d like to become an actuary”.
Predictably, there were a few who wanted to be professional footballers (actually, they didn’t specify professional, that’s me putting words in their mouths) and some more who wanted to be singers (well done Simon Cowell, the youth are yours now). There were a fair number of proto-police officers (who, I bet, actually want to be Daleks, but think the dome shaped helmet of the police is the closest they can get).
No-one wanted to be a lawyer. Or a banker. Or a salesperson. Or work in a shop.
Back in the studio, the presenters wondered, were we perhaps allowing our children to be too optimistic in their goals? Should we be stopping their wild flights of fancy (No, junior, don’t be ridiculous, you’ll never be a police officer, now go to your room and reconsider your aspirations) and promoting a more realistic aim?
Not in my opinion.
If someone had told the five year old me that I couldn’t be a Dalek, once I’d finished trying REALLY HARD to exterminate them, I’d have probably been rendered unspeakably melancholy by suggestions of sensible roles. In reality, even now, I look at most job descriptions and pine for those days of care free ignorance about the need to make money.
Job hunting is a long way off for
Cam, thankfully. I already know that I want him to be clever. I hope he is. The genetic building blocks ought to be there. I did okay at school, and probably could have done better if I’d been a bit more motivated. Mrs L excelled at school and university.
Ideally, he’ll have inherited the best attributes from each of us. That would probably put him in a pretty good starting position.
I don’t want him to grow up thinking in wholly realistic terms. I want him to aim high, to be something fantastic, something enjoyable which also brings in enough cash. I want him to do better than I have (I’ve helped him out here by not being terribly successful). I want him to be awesome, and I want to do everything I can to help him. I want him to be the best he can be.
More than anything, I want him to be happy.
If he could work out how to turn a human into a Dalek along the way, that would be great.
*does Dalek voice* EXTERMINATE!