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The career choices of an 8-year-old

This is the time of year when kids bring home all sorts of papers and projects from school and parents need to decide what to save, what to display, what to recycle and, the biggest pile of all, what to deal with another day.

Among the treasures our daughter brought home this week was a collection of writing from one of her project groups. At the end was an "About the Author" page. It is here that I read that when she grows up, our daughter, who is 8, wants to be "a teacher, a waitress or most of all an actress."

The teacher part does not surprise me. She enjoys school and loves her teachers. At home, she has a chalkboard, a dry-erase board, a pointer, old spelling tests and a large selection of stickers. She puts up with no nonsense in her classroom.

Waitress? I found this rather interesting -- not so much the choice but the fact that even carrying her empty cereal bowl 8 feet over to the sink appears to cause our daughter great angst.

Setting the table is no favorite chore of hers either, unless it involves making place cards for holiday gatherings, which she does with great gusto.

Furthermore, I pity the restaurant owner. Our daughter will insist the uniforms be pink. The style will not matter as much as the high degree of embellishment.

The customers will be allowed to eat dinner in front of a television because that is something their mothers will not allow them to do at home. They can order ice cream as an appetizer, if they so choose. And, yes, they can be excused early -- if they say please.

But she will promise the chef one thing: If customers turn their noses up at one of the specials, she will make them try three bites of it, anyway. Who knows? They might even like it.

Actress? She wants to be an actress? I thought she already was one. Drama is her forte. Review from parents: 1.5 stars.

As the school year draws to a close, our daughter is asking about college. She has cousins in college, and some of her friends have siblings who are in or off to college. She is especially intrigued by the concept of dorm life, I believe.

She has no idea where she will go to college, of course, or what she will study or even what college is all about. But she already knows who she wants as her roommate, she tells me.

Career and college choices aside, our daughter also has decided, after a recent trip to the petting farm and kennels at the SPCA, that she wants to volunteer there.

"How old do you have to be? It's not like I'm 5 anymore," she said.

Oh, and the friend she wants as her college roommate? She bets she will want to volunteer there, too.

You girls will be great volunteers -- when you grow up, I assure her, explaining there are other ways we as a family can help until then.

Then I fast-forward to the future. Yes, volunteer work at the SPCA will make good use of her professional skills. Perhaps she can use her teaching experiences to work with a shelter's education department. Or perhaps her work as a waitress will come in handy if she volunteers to help feed the animals.

And when it's time to clean up after them, my bet is she'll always make room for a little drama.

e-mail: smartin@buffnews.com

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