Saturday, January 8, 2011

Who are You Going to Be??

Do you ever think back to what type of play you enjoyed as a child?  What, given all the choices in the world, you would choose to do?  

Did you enjoy pretending that you were an architect building huge structures with blocks or Lego's?   Or did you prefer to play outside that you were on an expedition looking for dinosaur bones?   Or did you favor making your own library where you were the librarian?  

As a child I had two primary types of pretend play I enjoyed.   The first was that I was a mommy.  At one point I remembering deciding that I wanted to be the mommy to 8 babies.   My friend Shelly quickly shot that idea down telling me that she sometimes pretended she had 10 babies, but then days would go by without thinking about one of them and that was just wrong to forget about your children.  Her rational made sense at the time. 

And today as the mother to two, who lucky has not forgotten about either of her babies, I realize Shelly had a good point.  I do not think I could adequately keep up with eight.

The second type of pretend play I enjoyed was playing school.  I would have a classroom bedroom full of Cabbage Patches and Barbies ready to learn.   

Reflecting back, it is odd that I chose this second type of play because I did very poorly in elementary school (related to a diagnosed learning disability).  Middle and high schools were better academically, however, socially it was a negative experience for me throughout.  

Remember this picture:

I pretty much looked like that all through school.   Not exactly the coolest girl on the block.  And add to that a heaping helping of quietness

What is even more odd is that regardless of that negative experience I had in school I went on to get a degree in education and have been a teacher in one way or another since.  

I have given this a lot of thought.  Why is it that I decided to pursue a career in a setting I hated so much?  My family wanted me to become a nurse, but I quickly dismissed it.   Why?  I would have certainly made more money and I could have still been in a "helping" career (which was important to me).  

But, nonetheless I went into education and though I no longer teach in a school, I am still in that field.  

I believe that the play I enjoyed as a little girl lead me to the path I am on.   I had an aptitude for working with young children and then I was given an opportunity to foster that aptitude through the type of play to which I was given access.  

Now, as a mother to a preschooler and toddler I think a lot about the kind of people they are going to become.  Please don't mistake what I am saying.  I fully am enjoying the people they ARE now, but I do think about who they are becoming. 

I love to watch them play and how they each have distinctive interest and styles in their play.

Bub loves to pretend his is a policeman, or a bounty hunter, or a monster hunter, or animal rescuer, or detective, or any other role he can think up where he helps the good guy and gets the bad.   He loves to collect clues and figure mysteries out. 

Bub on a mystery hunt while in the hospital.

I wonder if this is a sneak peek into who he is going to be someday?   And more importantly, if this is something he has an aptitude towards, what can do to encourage it so he can develop it to his fullest potential? 

Goose is just beginning to formally engage in pretend play and it seems to focus largely around animals, but I am equally as interested to see what it is that makes her tick. 

Goose, the Dog Trainer.
 And, perhaps, they may go on a totally different path and that will be just as great.  But, in the meantime I will try to encourage their interest anyway I can. 

What are your thoughts?  Do you see traits of the type of play you enjoyed as a child in the type of work you do (or would like to do) today?  How about your children?   What do they enjoy and what do you do to encourage them? 
My  bounty hunter and puppy.


  1. LeeAnn this is wonderful. I was always the "teacher" and the "Mom" as a child. In a "report" I wrote in 1st grade I remember reading, I wrote about wanting to be a teacher growing when I grow and why. I look back now and I had that chance. God has taken me in a different direction for now(MOM). I look at Brooke and at 4 she says she wants to be a "veternan". She loves animals and watches every more the Dr makes when we take the little ones in. She takes her Dr kit and Dr's all the animals (when they will stay still) and if not she has all her dolls and cuddles lined up in little chairs in her room and calls them by their name while she takes turns "doctering" each one. Eli loves to help and build. Peyton well she hasn't gotten to that pretend play stage yet. I am always telling Tommy that I want to help foster the thing she enjoys. Right now it's Spanish so I try to teach her what little I know. Thanks for a peek into your life and your babies.

  2. Jess, it is amazing to watch. I love it! And thank you.