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How the Answer to my Future Found Me

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?” That is the dreaded question for those who later on if life are categorized as “undecided”. As all my friends developed career choices, I was busy searching for the answer to my future. As the college search began, the stress grew deeper and the nerves began developing. Many ideas floated around in my head and everyone was telling me to simply do something that I wanted to do; but, I honestly had no clue what that was. So instead of searching, I relaxed for a bit and let my future find me. This inspiration decided to find me in two unsuspecting people.

It was always a dream of mine to have a brother or sister. One day, my wish came. Not for a sibling exactly, but for another child in the family to keep me company. My aunt and uncle shared the news that they would be having a baby. I was so excited that I would have someone to follow me around and trust me when they were confused over things When my cousin was born, my aunt and uncle were living in Tennessee. Our whole family surrounded its life on that one special telephone ring. On October 25, 1997, that ring finally came. I ran to answer the phone, said a simple hello, and was responded with, “Lauren, you have a new baby cousin.” I was asked to hand over the phone and not say anything, but instead blurted out, “They had the baby! They had the baby!” From then on, the days up until the baby came home to RI dragged by. When they came, they lived in my grandmother’s house with me, my grandmother, and my mom. I played with him constantly, asked to hold him, feed him, and was even willing to change his stinky diaper. After they moved , I still saw him everyday when my grandmother babysat him while my aunt and uncle were at work. As he got older, he would watch me through the window as my school bus turned the corner. Then, whenever I came home, he would be standing on his little feet at the front door waving to me. I explained to him that when he got older, he, too, would be a big kid and ride the bus to school. He was thrilled on his first day of school. When he was in kindergarten, I was in the 8th grade at the same school and would sometimes see him and his class in the hall. He would tap his friends on the shoulder and say, “That’s my cousin!” just as I used to do at his age, when my cousin Robert was in the 8th grade.

Then, when PJ turned five, my aunt was pregnant with another child, this time a girl, Caroline. I was thirteen at this time, and the same excitement filled me from when I was seven. When she was born, I took numerous pictures of her and PJ and was over their house constantly playing with them. This is also when I became “NA-NA,” the name Caroline gave to me as a baby when she couldn’t say Lauren. From that moment on, everyone in the family refers to me as NA-NA, demonstrating that the kids in my family are ultimately the bosses.

Now, at seventeen, I’m literally a kid at heart, and still love to be around them all of the time. Since they live less than a minute away from me, we see each other constantly. At every birthday, picnic, holiday, and get together, I can always be found running around with my cousins . Their innocence is what strikes me the most. Think about it, if everyone was like that, life would be a friendlier place. Just as is demonstrated by Salinger in Catcher in the Rye , no one can keep a person from growing up and experiencing the craziness of life; however, we can take advantage of a child’s precious time and aid, support, and give advice. We can’t control the type of people that they become when they are older. We can simply support them in what they do now during the simplest yet most wonderful times of their lives; in fact, that it why it is often said that adults learn from children. For example, they laugh when they make mistakes, are honest about the silliest things, and are quick to forgive anyone who hurts them. They are as free now as they ever will be in life. For instance, whenever I babysit my cousins, the three of us have a blast. The whole entire house will be silent except for the music we play and the laughter that comes pouring out of them. We’ll dance around and scream like crazy fools for no reason whatsoever. When children get older and are with their friends, they become more self conscious about themselves. That is why it is important to allow them to be themselves during their crucial years of development.

The second thing about kids that fascinates me is how everything is so effortless for them. They are funny without trying to be, they are happy without searching for happiness, and they are loved without finding someone to love them. They don’t worry about the negative aspects of the world. Most importantly, they are simply themselves. Adults tend to go easy on children because, “They don’t know any better.” Imagine how different our world would be if everyone was like this and was clueless about the hurtful words, actions, and pictures that exist. Children don’t fully understand all of the heartache in the world, yet they are still kind, caring, and reach out to others more than those who are aware of the many dangers; in fact, just their support and drive to lend a helping hand is more rewarding than anything. For example, one day I was babysitting my cousin, but I had a lot of homework to do and explained to her I couldn’t play right now. She saw my laptop and understood I had homework but didn’t seem to understand I had to do it rather than it being a choice over playing with her. Suddenly, she stopped talking to me and began looking all around the house. Finally, she found her Barbie play Laptop, sat herself on the couch next to me, looked at me with her most serious face and said, “I’m going to do your homework with you, so we can finish it faster and then play together.”

“No one stands so tall as when they stoop to help a child"(Unknown). This is why I want to go into a profession that deals with children. They bring joy to my life, and a career with them is exactly what I have been searching for all along. People usually don’t have to search for their happiness in life. It is usually right there in front of them waiting to be captured. It exists in the most hidden yet obvious places in each one of our lives. The bond I have formed with my two cousins has inspired me to take the path that will lead me to my future. They are always interested in everything I do. Since they look up to me, they will tend to follow my example. This encourages me to show them the great person I have the capability to be. I do this in order that they will grow up with the same confidence and determination.

But the best part of kids is the unexplained joy that they bring just for being themselves. No problem is big enough to prevent a person from smiling when he or she sees a baby’s smile or hear a child’s laughter, at least no problem would be big enough for me. That is why I am currently considering Elementary Education or Child Psychology. Whether it be the owner of a daycare, or an author of a children’s book, I want to bring the same joy to children’s lives that my cousins have brought to mine.





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