After she swallowed a bite of pizza, Judith said, “It sounds like you’ve definitely decided to get your license.”
“I started memorizing the driving rules. I want to take the written part this month.”
She wiped her mouth with a napkin and said, “If you were English, you’d probably already have your driver’s license. Have you ever thought how restrictive our lives are as children? English children dream of becoming doctors, veterinarians, firemen, astronauts, nurses, or maybe movie stars. My cousin Violet teased Rachel about becoming a movie star.”
“You and Rachel both are beautiful enough to be movie stars. You look very pretty in your lavender dress.” He noticed Judith’s cheeks turning pink at his compliment.
“Danki, but becoming a movie star would never happen. Not that I want to be a star but you see my point. When you were a little boy, you planned on becoming a farmer, furniture maker, or maybe you did think about working in a factory or at the lumberyard.” She sighed. “Women only think about growing up and getting married. Before doing that, we expect we’ll teach, work in a bakery or make quilts for money— but not much else. If an Amish girl wants to become a doctor or a nurse, she’d be at a disadvantage right away. We have no science in our schools because it’s been decided there’s no need for us to learn science.”
A flash of uneasiness went through his mind about buying the cell phones. Even though he was the one suggesting they should have them and he was also doing something else non-Amish by getting his driver’s license, he felt grounded about his life. He wanted to join the church in a couple of years. But he worried about a cell phone being a bad thing for Judith. I hope it’s not the first step for her finding more freedom in the non-Amish world and leaving us. “You left out buggy makers. I’m sure I can think of more careers that we consider. I see your point, but how many little boys actually become firemen or doctors after dreaming about these careers? Few, I’m sure.”
“I think dreaming is an important part of growing up,” Judith insisted. “We’re robbed of having this special dreaming in our childhood by being raised in an Amish home. Mamm and Daed never asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.”
Right now, I think I could drink a beer instead of a Pepsi. Judith’s making me nervous. She’s definitely not happy about our Plain way of life. It’s obvious she thinks that the English have better childhoods. “Okay, what did you want to be when you were little?”
“A nurse. When I was eight years old, I was in the hospital for double pneumonia. I liked one nurse especially who took care of me. I even remember her name was Tara. I told my mamm that I wanted to be a nurse like Tara.” Judith took a sip of her pop. “She told me Amish women didn’t become nurses.”
Question - When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Did you change your mind later and switch to a different career or path in life?