Prompted by this post by Dean Dad, in which he discusses his son's fourth-grade class' goals (boys=rich, girls=married), I thought I'd briefly wax historical on my own goals as a child. I think in the first few grades, most of the boys wanted to be firemen or policemen or astronauts, and most of the girls wanted to be horses. Yeah I don't really understand how that works either, but there was definitely a cadre of young girls at my elementary school who spent every recess pretending to be horses. Not to ride them. Be them.
My best friend was a girl (though not one of the horse-girls) who used to build forts and run around doing stupid sh*t with me. I don't remember what we used to do. Maybe we played house? Well, we probably used our imaginations a lot. All I can really remember of the first three grades is a general feeling of well-being, a few still embarrassing instances of being a temper-tantrum-throwing little freak, reading a stunning quantity of young adult novels (I think I read the entire catalogue of John Bellairs' books, as well as a fantastic number of Famous Five novels), and watching the Van Damme movie Bloodsport when I was over at the house of a friend whose parents were more lenient than mine regarding what he could watch on TV.
When asked what I wanted to be, I think my answer was usually paleontologist. You show a kid one too many shows on dinosaurs and he'll pick up the lingo, even at that age. I specifically wanted to be Jack Horner when I grew up, but anybody who worked with dinosaur bones would've been okay. I might have wanted to be an astronaut, too, because I can remember learning all about the planets and the moon missions and space in general. Now I just love science fiction -- is that just a sign of the times, maybe?
But this whole "be rich" thing? I don't know. I can't remember ever thinking to myself that when I grew up I wanted to be rich. It just wasn't on my radar. I wanted to do cool things, interesting things -- something to do with space(!) or dinosaurs(!!). I'm honestly not surprised by the students in Dead Dad's son's class not thinking about finishing school (high school, college, or otherwise) because I'm pretty sure I had no idea how much schooling was required to do the cool things. I just wanted to do them. But what gets me is the money thing. What kids want, when they grow up, is to be happy and successful. Everything else they say is about what they've internalized about that. So for some of the girls "horses = happy" and for me, "dinosaurs/space = happy" (maybe I wanted to be a dinosaur at one point, rather than someone who studies them?).
DD's son has internalized (probably because of what his dad does) that "university = success"
and so he wants to be successful like his dad. But the other kids have learned to equate money with success, at least the boys, and the girls have learned that having a family is the ticket to happiness or success. Setting aside the disturbing gender divide there (because I can't remember at all what even my best friend wanted to be when she grew up, but I bet it was something cool. I remember her as being pretty cool.) I'm just a little weirded out by the "money = success" thing, I guess. And at such a young age.
So what did you want to be when you grew up? Don't say "medievalist" unless that was actually the case -- wanting to be a knight is something else entirely :D Did you want to be rich? Married? Both?