Helping My Daughter With HER Dreams

0 Comments 10 June 2010

For most of the past year, when you asked my nearly 5-year-old daughter Brooklyn what she wanted to be when she grew up, she replied, “A doctor!”  My mom is a nurse, my grandpa and his brothers were all doctors- heck, I even got certified as an EMT years ago.  Medicine runs in the family.  This was certainly an easy thing to encourage.  We got her the little Fisher Price doctor kit, let her put on Neosporin and band aids when family members got little scrapes, and even got her a pair of little kids scrubs for Christmas.  Brooklyn has a great memory, so we got her a poster with the bones of the body from the teacher’s supply store, and she memorized several. (Just go ahead and ask her where her clavicle and patella are.)  Then one day a few weeks ago,
Brooklyn decided she didn’t want to be a doctor.  Sydney got a scrape on her knee, and came up to Brooklyn for care.  Brooklyn replied, rather sadly but seriously, “I’m sorry, Sydney Kate, I can’t.  I’m not a doctor anymore.”
I asked her, “Brooklyn, you don’t want to be a doctor anymore?”  She shook her head.
“What do you want to be?” I asked.  She paused and said, “I want to sell ice cream out of a truck.”
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it is a far cry from the medical profession.  However, I knew this was a moment of truth, and you can’t start with those too early- both for your kids, and for yourself as a parent.  Should I try to push her toward what I’d like for her to be, or what she’d like to be?  I decided to go for what she’d like to be, with the only requirement being that whatever she does, she needs to do it well.
We went right upstairs and she opened her first ice cream store in her closet.  (No mobile store, I can’t teach her to drive- she is only four, after all.)  Using pink, red, yellow and purple building blocks as ‘ice cream’, we set up a display, put various coins in front of each display color, and Brooklyn proceeded to ‘sell’ strawberry, cherry, lemon, and grape ice cream to Sydney Kate and me, and even Mommy when she got home.
This weekend, we went to a great local gelatto place, Nucci’s,  Brooklyn asked the co-owner of the store several questions like: Why did you decide to sell ice cream? (Our kids love gelatto, no one here sold it, so we opened our own place) What do you like about selling ice cream? (getting real ingredients from Italy) Is it hard to do? (marketing is hard, making it is easy).  Actually, Brooklyn was too shy to ask the questions we’d talked about, so I asked the questions for her while she gobbled up little sample spoons of gelatto. 
As a parent, how do you encourage your kids?


- who has written 165 posts on

Christian, husband, dad. Founder of, SVP at Triathlon and history addict.

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Christian, husband, dad. Founder of, SVP at Triathlon and history addict.

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