We all start out with a dream. When I was a kid if you asked the girls what they wanted to be when they grew up, they would quip that they longed to be a ballerina or a pretty celebrity, and little boys would lower their voices an octave and reply that they wanted to grow up to be football players and astronauts. But today’s kids are a new breed. More tuned-in to the everyday harsh realities of life, they are uninterested in time-worn answers that require them to bow to the gender Gods.
“Surprisingly, more boys than girls dream of becoming dancers – while girls put footballer ahead of dancer in their list of favorites” (DailyMail.com). While kids have become less gender-restricted, these modern, hard-nosed elementary-school students are already going for the brass ring. The number one career choice for the leaders of tomorrow? To become a doctor. It’s evident that these kids are dreaming big. But what is motivating them? Is it the money and prestige that goes along with becoming a doctor, or do they genuinely care about becoming a healer?
When people used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d get an egghead look on my face and reply seriously, “I want to be a psychologist.” I remember adults chuckling at that. A puny fourth grader, a girl no less, whose ambition in life was to become a shrink? More than one adult walked away shaking their heads at the audacity. Everybody knew that although girls were admitted to medical school in the 1970s that it wasn’t going to be an easy road by any stretch of the imagination.
Those brave women would have to compete with chauvinistic men for the class seats, while male professors looked upon women in medical school as trouble-making bra-burners who were just out to prove something. Although I didn’t know exactly what psychologists did back then, I understood that they helped people who had problems, and that’s all I cared about. I subsequently wandered away from the ballerina pack, taking the road less traveled. But as a magnet on my refrigerator asks: “I chose the road less traveled. Now where the hell am I?”
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