Kate Livingstone: Future careers and forever happiness

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I’m going to tell you something that perhaps I shouldn’t.

Sometimes I can’t decide on what to write about and the helpful guys at the Falkirk Herald send me a few of the stories doing the rounds.

One in particular struck me this week - it was a survey about what parents most wanted their children to be in the future.

It seems that mums and dad want their bairns to have good, respectable, well-paying jobs.

They want them to be doctors, engineers, accountants, lawyers, and architects.

They however don’t want them to be athletes despite the stunning success of Team GB in this year’s Olympics.

And they have obviously ignored the reports about how stressed out and overworked junior doctors are.

But, and with a respectful nod to my kinda-colleagues at the Herald, parents don’t want their children to be journalists.

In fact, the occupation rated in the bottom ten careers parents wanted for their kids.

Perhaps when these parents think of journalists, they imagine Orla Guerin-type people, standing terrified in war-torn Syria and starting her news reports with, “A bullet has just flown over my head”.

They clearly haven’t read the stunning autobiographies by John Simpson or George Alagiah, or seen the great camaraderie and fun to be had in a local newspaper office.

I actually quite fancied the career when I was younger.

I thought it would definitely be an every-day-would-be-different kinda job.

But I think this survey reveals the real passion of parents to keep their children safe; even a pilot wasn’t a career parents wanted for their children, a sad sign of the times.

I always just wanted my two to be happy, and whether they received that happiness through their job really didn’t matter.

My daughter used to tell me she wanted to be a mum.

I found that ever so sweet.

When she was small, I always used to think that I must be doing a hell of a job at motherhood.

But now that she is a mum, she wants to be a student again.

Whatever we want for our children - money, security, happiness or fame - it certainly does us no favours to rule out certain options just because it’s not what we want.

Parents are there to advise, support, counsel, and, very often, pick up the pieces.

But it’s their life, so if they are bound for Afghanistan with nothing but a notebook to protect them, then we will just have to do what parents do best - worry!