The BIG question

What does she want to be when she grows up? She has a few ideas.



From the time kids are young, they’re asked what they want to be when they grow up.

My high school junior has been asked that question dozens of times as she starts to consider her future. I’d always tell her that she doesn’t have to know yet, but someday soon, that answer won’t cut it. She’ll have to decide how she wants to earn her “take Dad to Disney” money.

When I was just the Kid on Board, I knew that if I couldn’t be Evel Knievel or play for the Boston Bruins, I wanted to be a writer. Since the cape-and-helmet ensemble isn’t particularly flattering on me and my hockey sense can be best described as “not good,” I went with the latter. (Note to long-suffering English teachers: Ta-daaa!)

Her mom wanted to be a truck driver when she grew up. She loved cars and driving — still does — and when she was little, “Smoky and the Bandit” made bootlegging Coors look like a pretty great way to make a living. Since she couldn’t grow an awesome Burt Reynolds mustache, she opted for the high-tech world.

I’d like to see my daughter decide on a sensible career where she can build a happy life free from financial worries — but at the same time I don’t want to kill any of her dreams.

She has come up with a few ideas:

Art teacher: She says it sounds like fun and it’s probably a lot more achievable than, say, ‘rock star.’ I promote this one because it’s a future I can easily envision. I can see her using her creativity to help shape young minds during the school year and then touring with her band all summer.

Rich person: “I’d be a great rich person,” she says. I agree. Her reasoning is sound, but her execution is flawed. She says she’d give it all to charities and those in need, which means after a few weeks of big-hearted philanthropy, she’d run out of money.

Rock star: She can throw thunder with the best of them, but says: “I don’t want to be famous. I just want to be part of a well-known band.” I wanted to be a rock star, too, but the only thing I may be worse at than playing hockey is playing music. I still do it, though. My dog has seen some incredible private concerts over the years, so he’s convinced I’m the second coming of Jimi Hendrix, whatever the dog equivalent of Jimi Hendrix is (Jimi Houndrix?)

My wife wants our daughter to be an accountant. We have a good friend who built a great life doing just that, but neither of us knows what being an accountant entails other than meeting up with us on vacation and inviting us to the lake house in Maine. Actually, that’s starting to sound like a pretty good plan.   

Bill Burke is not a motorcycle stunt driver or professional hockey player who lives in southern New Hampshire.

More Dad on Board columns by Bill Burke

The not-so welcome wake-up call

Mornings start early in our house – our teen daughter is less than thrilled

Bringing up Baby Driver

Driving instruction is best left to the professionals – I’m out

Waiting for the insurrection

So far, so good on the teenage rebellion front

How to Dad (On Board)

A decade of Disney and diners with my daughter
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