Many people grow up with one career goal in mind. That goal may change or waver a bit over the years, but chances are, they went right back to their original plan for their lives. When I was growing up, I wanted to be anything and everything. I changed weekly – if not daily – and I’m not referring to my years in elementary school. Or even middle school. In high school, I had so many career aspirations that the thought of graduating and being forced to choose, scared me to death.
I graduated high school and began working through the process of joining the military. I took the ASVAB and completed the rigorous – and embarrassing – physical tests required. I was ready to sign on the dotted line and join the United States Coast Guard with the intent of being a Search and Rescue specialist. I shoved the no less than fifteen other career options I had in mind and focused on this one and I was ready to take that next step.
My recruiter called me and told that I had failed the color test and that I was color blind. I wasn’t aware of that fact, but I didn’t understand the significance of his call until he said that because I was color blind, I would not be able to be the Search and Rescue specialist, as intended. But, he said, I could be a yeoman.
A yeoman?! This guy expected me to abandon my initial dream post and settle for going through the rigors of basic training all to be a secretary on a boat?? Not on his life! I politely refused and turned away from a life in the military.
Now, let me clarify that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a yeoman. Any position held within our armed forces is to be respected and admired by all Americans. Our soldiers have a thankless job that requires their willingness to give that ultimate sacrifice in exchange for being mocked and harassed by the very people they are dying to save. I wasn’t willing to take that next step because my heart wasn’t in it.
If my heart was solely dedicated to serving in the military, any position would’ve sufficed. I turned away because I secretly wanted an out. I didn’t realize it then, but I can see it now. I took a year off between high school and college to get my thoughts in order and by the time I started college, I had decided to focus on being a teacher.
Teaching was the one career that was always in the back of my mind. It’s an honorable profession and one that I admire greatly. Without teachers, we can’t have any other profession. I started my college years and crammed my four-year degree into five years, but during that time, I changed my major so many times! I went from teacher to marine biologist to nurse to journalist and then back to teacher and so on and so on.
Eventually, I graduated with a Literature degree and a minor in History. There’s not much you can do with an English degree other than teach. Different obstacles in my life led me to attend Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentuck where I earned my Master’s in Christian Education. Once I graduated from Southern, I taught 9th grade English at a Christian school back home in GA. It took me two years in an organized school setting to know that teaching in that sense was not for me.
I took various jobs that ranged from an Emergency 911 operator to a customer service rep at a construction supply store. I worked in a hospital, at an airport, and for three different law firms before going to work a local church. While I enjoyed working at the church, life led me down another path and I left the church shortly before my 2nd anniversary.
Now I’m a teacher. Granted, my classroom is limited to two students and our curriculum is more student driven than government driven, but I have learned something very important: all of my varied interests growing up is serving as a benefit to my sons now. I use my history and my unpursued passions to ignite imagination and drive in the boys.
Right now, JoJo wants to be in the military – military police, to be exact – and JJ wants a career in law enforcement. I am currently tailoring unit studies on both topics so that the boys can learn as much as possible about both admirable professions. Regardless of how often they change their focus or what career they eventual settle into, I want my sons to do what I had the safety and support from my parents to do: DREAM.
I may not have joined the Coast Guard, as intended, but I belive in their motto and I want the boys to believe in it, too:
Semper Paratus – Always Ready.