What do you want to be when you grow up?

by Rod Smith

“Are you what you wanted to be when you grew up?” one of my sons asked me once. 

I recall playfully telling him the question was both kind and cruel. 

The question offered me time to reflect with deep gratitude for an incredible life of amazing contrasts and joys and explorations.

And, jaw-dropping regret. 

The truth is I am nothing of what I wanted to be or planned to be as a child, yet I am also far, far more than I had the capacity to imagine. My response was tough to try and explain but I think my son understood since I have repeatedly told both boys that life is simultaneously beautiful and brutal,  

You may have gathered I think a lot and write much about contrasts and paradoxes and I see them everyday. 

Perhaps you feel something rather similar or perhaps life has been a bed of roses for you – but I doubt it. 

Who plans to be divorced? Alone? In debt? Ill?

Adults often ask children what they want to be when they grow up and perhaps we should suggest our children respond with, “I’ll tell you if you tell me if your childhood ambitions have come to fruition.”

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