Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My daughter the journalist?

Emma has changed her mind (as I expected).

Since she was eight years old, all she wanted to do was be a veterinarian. She has always loved animals, and when our cat (who she adored) developed diabetes and we spent time with the vet learning how to care for her, she made up her mind. She volunteered a few times in their office, she gives the cat her insulin shots (yes, she's still doing fine five years later), and has read many books on the subject.

Then some harder pet times happened. Our other beloved cat died last year (they were sisters). She had a fatal illness that couldn't be cured, and she was dying before our eyes so we had to have her euthanized. It was so hard to hold her as she went, but what else could I do? Emma and the baby were with me and she and I cried all the way home. The cats were older than she was! Then last month her gerbil - her pet of her very own, that seemed to choose her in the pet store four years ago - was bleeding from his belly. We thought he had scratched himself on a sharp piece of chewed plastic, but when I cleaned him we discovered a large scent gland tumor. It was about the size of a dime, which is huge on a little rodent. She could not bring herself to put ointment on it when I held him, but she did take good care of him like always and worried so much about him. She was heartbroken when he passed away.

She decided that she couldn't deal with the death aspect of being a veterinarian - a very valid concern. That is why I ruled it out instantly in my career musings as a teenager. Instead, she informed my husband that she wanted to be a journalist.

I can totally see her doing that. It's a career I seriously considered for myself, too. I was on our newspaper staff my last two years of high school, and even won awards for my articles. One day, though, a local journalist visited our class and gave us one piece of advice that changed my mind for me - Don't be a journalist if you want people to like you. At the time, I was very concerned about being liked. Now I think it's great but not the only thing to consider, but who has that mindset at 16? I think she would be okay with that, though. She's a very different girl than I was. She is confident, secure, and sure of herself. She doesn't just go along with what's popular. She stands up for others against the "mean girls" even though one of them was her very best friend since kindergarten.

She will probably change her mind again, and more than once. But whatever she chooses, I support her. And with that -

What advice from other women in journalism can I pass along to her?


  1. Great post. It reminds me very much of my own daughter. She loves animals, thought about doing it as a career and all until we lost a few. So sad. But now at 16 she writes fiction and lots of it. She's been encouraged by other writers to try to publish her work. She definitely not journalist material. She would rather be anonymous if at all possible. Its fun to watch them grow!

  2. Great post- it is always interesting to see what our children actually pursue as they become their own person. I have one daughter who loves to write- but she writes plays or skits- My other daughter has always wanted to be a nurse. My son is pursuing his career in physics.

    You and your daughter can be journalist! Just think of it- a mother daughter team! :) She must have inherited her love for the written word from you.

  3. I am very proud of my daughter. She loves to write many different things. She's even done something I've never attempted: She's been published. Twice!

    I admit to perusing journalism job openings occasionally, but I do enjoy the job I have now. I couldn't be a full-time writer but I may look into freelance pieces.

    I do love watching her grow and try out different personas, figuring out who she wants to become.

  4. Christine, great post like everyone else said. It is fun watching my 2 big ones decide what they want to do with their lives.

    If you'd like to write parenting articles, contact me and I can share with you what I know. It's very doable part time. I've only been at it 20 months.