For the month of October, I’m joining the Write 31 Days challenge with 31 Days of Vlogging, where I blog and write for 31 days. My goal is to write on the weekends and vlog on the weekdays. Today’s post comes from the Write 31 Days writing prompt: Your dream job.
My dream job is not a surprise. It’s to be a children’s author. I’ve talked about it before. So let me tell you, instead, about a fork in the road that I faced and how my choice shaped my life.
Even as a little girl, I was a nurturer and when I saw that you can take care of and play with little kids in Sunday school, I wanted in. Now I know and declare on my soapbox that children’s ministry is not babysitting, but back then, I wanted to volunteer because I loved kids. I was 14 years old. The Children’s Ministry Director – my mother, hi mom – turned me down because I had zero experience working with kids.
Well, at the same moment I started high school, and applied for an after school job where we went to elementary schools and conducted an after school program where we taught seasonal lessons and played games. I didn’t do it to gain experience working with kids so I can join the ministry. I did it because volunteer hours were required to graduate, and the interviewer said I could forgo the salary in lieu of volunteer hours (that turned out to be false and I was paid $5.75 an hour).
Also at the same moment, all the freshmen were tested in various Track & Field sports. As asthmatic as I was, I was officially invited to join Track & Field and compete in Sprints.
Let me back track a few years in the Philippines where my parents took me to different hospitals and specialists because my asthma was so bad. When we moved to the United States, it became significantly better because there was less pollution and no doctor prescribed fish cod oil as asthma medication. In middle school, my grandma talked to my P.E. teacher and told him my asthma condition. The first day we ran the mile, he asked if I was okay and suggested I sit out. I said no and ran. I never had the best mile times, but I ran. I was never athletic, but I played. I saw the respect in his eyes, and it was like I had to prove to myself that asthma wouldn’t hold me back.
Getting that invitation to try out for Track & Field was a huge deal. I never thought of myself as an athlete, and the coaches were telling me I could be. I had a decision to make: sports or volunteer hours needed to graduate. I chose the volunteer hours (which became a moot point because they did away with those requirements my sophomore year, and because the job couldn’t trade salary for volunteer hours anyway).
But taking that job meant I had the experience to volunteer for children’s ministry, and the rest…well, it would be history but I’m still in children’s ministry. And the children’s ministry taught me how to keep in touch with my inner child, how to view the world like a child, and how to communicate “big” ideas in ways young children would understand. And that helps my writing, which I’m working on and hope to show you one day.