The Paleontologist and the Astrophysicist

My girls have decided what they want to be when they grow up, and it's awesome.

When my girls grow up one wants to be a Paleontologist, the other an Astrophysicist. They didn’t make these decisions lightly, but both resulted from a love of science.

There is something magical about making the decision of what I want to be when I grow up when you’re a kid.

I don’t remember that I ever had anything specific in mind that I wanted to be as a kid. When I reached high school I still had no idea. I thought about nursing, then physical therapy, occupational therapy to psychology. While I was in college I kept a psychology major, but couldn’t decide on a minor.

It was too early and coming from a small town at a time when the Internet was still in its infancy, I didn’t know enough about myself or the world to know what I wanted to do.

To this day, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I guess being a blogger, documenting my journey is where I’ve landed at the moment, but who knows how long until the next adventure finds me.

My girls have decided fairly early in life what they want to be. At least if they could make that decision for their future selves at this very moment, they’ve decided. We’ve reminded them many times they have a lifetime to make these decisions and whatever they decide will be awesome. Still, they’re holding tight to their current decisions with no sign of letting go anytime soon.

The Paleontologist

My oldest has loved fossils as long as I can remember. She’s held strong to her decision to become a paleontologist for years.

Over the years she’s had some fairly sweet opportunities. She’s interviewed paleontologists, visited a couple of dig sites, made molds of fossils, and even found and identified her own fossils on numerous occasions. The girl is obsessed, as she will proudly tell you.

My girls have decided what they want to be when they grow up, and it's awesome.

She also loves the science behind paleontology. Geology, biology, botany; if it will help her reach her paleontology goal, she’s going to learn it. This has also helped in getting her interested in both writing and math because she’ll need them both in her career.

The Astrophysicist

Our youngest took a little more time to decide on something she loved. We spent a long time focusing on her love of yoga because she wanted to be a yoga teacher when she grows up, but despite what she said, it didn’t seem like she was all in as a career choice. It’s quite possible she was, but it’s just as possible she was just picking something she knew about and liked because her sister had a focus.

Then, suddenly it hit her, she wanted to discover the end of space. Very cool idea.

My girls have decided what they want to be when they grow up, and it's awesome.

We talked to her about it and the excitement in her eyes grew with every photo, article or idea we discussed. She was introduced to Cosmos and fell in love. I placed several books on hold for her at the library, and the biggest book about space was met with “This book is Awesome!” We visited Homestead National Monument for the 2017 total solar eclipse and she had the chance to listen to Bill Nye speak and give information about the sun.

The girl was hooked. She’s going to be an astrophysicist, just like Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Who knows, maybe someday she’ll get to meet him. He does talk fondly about the time Carl Sagon met with him as a budding astrophysicist.

Discovering the Past and the Future

What is such a cool thing about these combined career interests is both girls are reaching into the unknown in opposite directions. My paleontologist is searching the past for clues to what the world was like millions of years ago, while my astrophysicist is reaching to the future and what’s to come.

The girls may not always keep the same interest in careers as they get older, but for right now it’s a really interesting concept for me to see how the girls are running in opposite directions, yet sort of moving right along side each other.

No matter what my girls end up doing when they grow up they’ll have my full support. Being able to teach them at home and watch their interests develop has been a highlight of the past several years.

I can’t wait to see where they end up, or what they end up doing. One thing’s for sure; I’m going to enjoy this ride as long as I can.

What do your kids want to be when they grow up? 

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