Monday, September 21, 2009

What do you want to be when you grow up?

nun Pictures, Images and Photos

In sociology the process of how we learn culture is called socialization. In my opinion, that term (and process) is the key to everything. Once understood, it can explain and heal social problems on a micro (individual) as well as macro (all of society) scale.

From the moment our family finds out about a the existence of a new child in utero, in the hospital or even in, say Guatemala (adoption counts too!), the process of socialization begins. Buying baby clothes in one color or another, furnishing a nursery or making the decision that a nursery isn't necessary. Thinking of names. Making plans.

As infants we learn through touch and taste and smell and sound. So we begin the woven stories of our lives. As children, either from families noticing a propensity for one trait or another, or through media outlets (TV, radio etc), or even through books, we begin to form an idea of what we want to "be" when we are all grown up.

The earliest answers are interesting. They are firmly based in the wonderment of childhood. Children don't lie about what interests them. Most grown up people, if they can remember their original answer, secretly still wish that they could go back and become that cowboy, policeman, ballerina, baseball player, fireman, veterinarian, doctor, nurse, mommy, daddy, super hero, villain, or in my case Nun.

Yes that's right. I said Nun. But let's stop laughing and look into this. I believe it all began with a white turtleneck that got stuck on my head. Most of you will know what I'm talking about. I was getting ready for a bath and I must have pulled off the shirt and it got stuck on my head so when I looked in the mirror what I saw was... a six year old Nun. And that's when it started. My obsession. My grandmother, pained by my mother's bohemian ways, took me to church on Sundays. I fell in love with the statues and the rosary beads and the order... and the quiet.

I watched movies with Nuns and TV shows with Nuns and I walked around with my hair wrapped in black scarves my hands folded together in prayer. I frequently wouldn't talk because of "Vows of Silence." It drove my vibrant, antidisestablishmentary mother... bonkers.

When I turned nine I fell in love and that was that. Nun worship over. BUT... if we look at the reasons why I wanted to become a Nun in the first place, we can learn a lot about my childhood. And, for the purposes of self exploration on the road to BLISS, that is a really important thing to do.

I didn't ever want to be one of those "In society helping people out Nuns" I wanted to be a cloistered, gardening, silent, little room with a white bed and stone walls kind of Nun. I craved order, and solitude, and a less glittery kind of lovely than what surrounded me. I needed quiet inside my head. I wanted peace. Simple. See? And now that I've discovered the truth behind my desire, I can understand myself better. I understand what I need when I am frazzled... my hands in the earth, a quiet day, a bit of alone time. Oh, and I've always been a fan of the uniform.

For writers, we need to create a socialization process for each character. It lets us know the motivation behind why they do what they do. Very important. For parents, it is always good to foster our child's true desires. Your sons and daughters may not become famous ball players, but if they love the game, why not become sports journalists... or something along those lines. As spouses, how nice is it to figure out a hidden dream inside those we love and cultivate it?

What about you? Who did you want to be when you grew up? Did you become it? Do you incorporate some of it in your own lives? Tell me!


  1. Awwwhhh good morning to you MS Suzanne(ah). 'Tis such a tangled web. The mystery is hard to unravel, but I think I want to be a, hummm, let me think,, this is hard.

  2. Good morning!

    It was always zoologist for me. Then someone (at the age of eight) gave a zoology book and I discovered it was mostly studying bugs. How boring. I switched my allegiances to horse vet, and then discovered where they have to stick their hand for a pregnancy test. Then my dad poked me towards computers and I "wanted" to do...something...with them.

    Now I'm a dog groomer, and I love it. :P

  3. HA!! SUZANNE! Sorry - I can't stop laughing at the image of you driving your mother crazy (added benefit?) running around like a nun!! That is GREAT. When I was young - just like now - I never had a definitive answer to that question. I changed my mind A LOT. For a while, I thought roller skating waitress would be a FABULOUS career. Some days that still sounds really good to me :)

  4. Interesting. I wonder if part of your longing for peace and solitude and order came partially due to having those wonderful bohemian (I assume "not-so-ordered") parents? Sociology is fascinating.

    I wanted to be many things as a child - a writer being the one that has stuck with me no matter what I do. I can't escape it. My dad was/is a computer programmer, and I never wanted to be like him. But I "fell into" this job designing web sites 10 years ago, and because the money is decent and I like stability, I stay.

    No matter what I've done though, "writer" is always the answer to "what I want to be someday". Hence, my current dual path.

  5. I'm going to confess, but it will only confirm my insanity.

    When I was little, I wanted to be Mary, Jesus' mother. I didn't quite get the whole part about how He would return in His full glory, I had just heard He would come again. So, I assumed he would be born a baby and need a mother and WHY NOT ME? I'd be famous. I'd be in scripture, for crying out loud. I'd be special beyond belief.

    Imagine my dismay when I turned ten or so and learned that no one, nope, no one at all who believes in Christ thinks he will come as a baby again.


  6. I wanted to be a teacher. I used to make my little brother play school with me. I made him take spelling tests and do math. I'm not sure how I got him to do that; I'm guessing I bribed him somehow. That desire changed when I realized I had little patience when it came to explaining things to people. So, no, I'm not a teacher. But you make a great point about considering our characters desires.

  7. Yup I wanted to be a nun as well, I just loved the way their habits rustled as they walked between the small desk, I loved how clean they were even how the smelled. I was so sure that is what I was going to be when I grew up and like you I fell in love at 15 and my priorities changed. I do not regret it but I often wonder what kind of nun I would of been, I had even chosen a name for myself (Sister Mary Bernadette) how strange was that? I still find myself fingering my beads as I say my rosary, love the sacraments but more than anything love the life I have now, playing with my flowers/garden, reading good books, and more than anything my volunteer work as a hospice caregiver.....Life is good, I think I have kept a sliver of my dream alive and now am living another dream......:-) Hugs

  8. I wanted to be an actress. Period. It's the drama queen in me! ;)

  9. This is cute and quirky, I've never heard of a child who wanted to be a nun!!!
    I wanted to be a veternarian. Seriously.
    I did not make it to college and they really frown upon people fixing animals with no degree.
    Alas, I just have a house full of animals and I am constantly going to the vet. close enough.

  10. Glen: I can't wait to find out!
    Uninvoked: I thought you were a novelist! Great book by the way. Friends, click on univoked and read.
    Ariana: It was funny. It really bothered.
    Jaime: I am so happy to find out you have always been a writer!
    Tess: Can I use that as a story line? REALLY? AMAZING.
    Lazy: One of your characters can be a teacher, right?
    Bernie: soul mates
    Mandy: Maybe you'll be in a movie they make of your novel!
    Busy Bee Suz: Welcome! I love all things S.U.Z

  11. I wanted to be a teacher, and I'm a teacher. I'm so predictable it hurts.

  12. Ooh. I was lame. I didn't know what I wanted to be even as a child (well, okay, I thought I'd die before I grew up but that's a (tragic) story for another time).

    When I was a bit older, I wanted to be a psychologist. I didn't even know what it meant, but I liked the way it sounded.

    By the way, I totally see you as a nun!

  13. Sorry...still laughing at images of you with a 'vow of silence' head bowed and mother going bonkers :) Ah... the things we do to our parents :)

    I wanted to be an artist (my mother was one-still is) a screen writer ( I wanted to write garfield movies- I was soooo before my time. Now someone has gone and done that!) or be an actor. The actor thing was about wanting someone to notice me. It was about wanting to be special and important. I get that. They were two things that I never felt I was. I still struggle to feel that I matter.

    Love the nun thing though. Gosh, why didn't i think of that! My mother would also have been driven WILD... and that would have been the point! :)

  14. I used to tag along with my Dad at his job as a facilities engineer, and since age 9 or 10, I knew I was going to be an engineer, and I did.

  15. I wanted to be what I am finally trying to be right now...a writer.

  16. Awesome post. :) I wanted to be a writer, a mom, a scientist, and a psychologist. Two out of four isn't bad. ;-) And if I can ever get my stomach to cooperate, I'll be able to get that neurology degree after all. :D

  17. I wanted hair long enough for a pony tail, a horse, a dog and to be an archeologist.

  18. I wanted to be a teacher and a mom. The mom part happened...

  19. Okay, you floored me. And then after thinking about it a moment, well, of course. There were a couple of times in my life when things were so crazy I thought I'd like to enter some cloistered environment, leave the world on the doorstep and seek tranquility.
    But as a kid I wanted to be an actress, writer, dancer. I craved creativity and wanted to leap away from my mother in a splashy way.

  20. what a cute little nun you would have made!!

    (I wanted to be so many things.....I really thought being bionic would be cool......)


  21. I think there's a secrecy to nunnery that is mysterious and desirable when you're young.

    I wanted to be a marine biologist who studied sharks. I watched the National Geographic shark special so many times I had it memorized, and my idol was the marine biologist who was feature in it and I thought it was awesome that she was a scientist, a professor, and a woman who swam with sharks.

    Then I got older and found that I hated science classes and was terrified by Jaws. I now have shark phobia - but I still kind of obsess about them.

  22. A nun? How cute. =)

    I can't remember what I wanted to be. It's changed so much. I wanted to be an actress (but I was too shy), a dancer (I was too klutzy), and a model (I like to eat... a lot...especially chocolate). I didn't decide I wanted to be a writer until I was grown up. It totally fits me (and makes a lot of sense - I love to spend hours at the book store *sigh* bliss). =)

  23. I want to be a super model, and the most famous computer science scientist in the face of the earth

  24. Loved your nun story. It's funny how sometimes you whip around in a mirror and you see your future layed out so perfectly infront of you, all thanks to a white turtleneck. ;)

    When I was young (about 12), I wanted to be a runway model more than anything in the world. On my wall I had a collage of runway models I clipped out of my mom's fashion magazines and every night I prayed I would turn out at least 6 feet tall. None of that happened, but I'm happy with what I turned out to be. :)

  25. Can you believe I wanted to be a nun, too? The kindly Sr. Mary Nick was my fourth grade teacher and I loved her so much I wanted to join her convent. As long as I could do a little detective work on the side (Nancy Drew was my other love!).

  26. I wanted to move to India, to be Mother Theresa, to be good and kind.

    I also wanted to be an internationally-renowned musician.



  27. I've always wanted to be a writer. The quiet. The imagination. The invisible friends in my head. The words...ah, the words.

  28. All! What great answers! I am so glad so many of you found your way.

    I suppose I still have time for the nun thing. Right? I mean... oh, yeah, I''m married. ;)