My seven-year old daughter has been giving thought to careers, and what she wants to be when she grows up. Recently, she asked me to explain to her which jobs make the “most amount of money…like lots and lots of money…like enough money to buy all the books at the book fair!” After finding an article and reading her the list of top earning she professions, she looked at me with a quizzical expression and asked…
“Where are the teachers? The Policemen, the Firemen? Those are the most important jobs!”
From the mouths of babes….
I did my best to explain to her that the intrinsic value of certain jobs does not always yield an equally high salary in our capitalistic society. Obviously, this baffled her. She continued to explain to me teachers are responsible for “all the learning” and that their jobs are hard and equally important. She explained how much effort her teacher puts into various lessons and activities. “Without teachers how would kids learn?”
Our discussion migrated to first responders, and specifically, policemen, like her Uncle D. “They stop bad people and save and protect good people.” Firemen run into burning buildings when everyone else is running out and both jobs are dangerous and important to our society. She referenced veterans, and although she has no real concept of what the “military” is, she understands that they protect our freedom and our country, and we have special days, celebrations and songs to give thanks for all they do.
To her, these people are heroes and these job are important. We teach our children to respect teachers and to listen to them. We entrust teachers with the great responsibility to mold and shape our children. We expect law enforcement personnel and first responders to keep us safe and guide us through emergencies. We remind our children if they are lost or in trouble, they are safe in the hands of these professionals.
Our conversation about jobs, income, and the future will continue for many years. I will do my best to guide and answer her questions. I will always remind her that success is multifaceted; there are many ways it can be measured.
But for now, our conversation was short, her questions and statements resolute; heroes are important and she is appreciative for all they do.
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