My Son David, Disney, and Why You Can't Be Anything You Want To Be

My eleven-year-old son, David, is frequently asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “An astronaut,” he says.

Annie Wolaver Dupre
February 25, 2023
My eleven-year-old son, David, is frequently asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“An astronaut,” he says.
This is slightly humorous, because David is a natural performer and loves playing piano, composition, singing and acting. Music? Or the Moon? Deep down he is torn.
So, the other day we were in the car and he posed the question to me, “Mom, what should I be when I grow up?”
Now, I don’t think David is going to be an astronaut. He is smart, so he could be, but that doesn’t seem to be his natural bent. I didn’t want to burst his bubble so in a search for something affirming to say my mind flashed back to the old self-esteem, Disney channel standby.
You can be anything you want to be.
I didn’t say it. Because, well, it’s not true. You can’t be anything you want to be.
Our times are obsessed with ‘being.’ Today we hear that feeling and being are the same thing. If you feel like a gender, you can just become that gender with a surgery or two. But human experience shows us the nature of ‘being’ is divine in origin and beyond our self will. Our being is set into motion by God himself. One is never more in control, and yet, not in control than when your children are conceived. Neither the parents nor the new baby has any control over who we are when we come into being. There was a time when my son David was not, and then, in a private and intimate moment, he came to be. It is when God imprints the image of Himself upon us. It is an image of unending originality and no repetition.
I believe the confusion and despair - which is so prevalent in our times - is rooted in the lost differentiation between being and doing. Media has told us we can be anything we want to be.
Maybe we aren’t supposed to grow up and be. Maybe we are supposed grow up and do.
In the arts, the devil is always tempting us with ‘being.’ Being famous. Being rich. Being beautiful. Being a star. While the ‘doing’ of singing, playing, refining, and perfecting is rarely mentioned. But God made us to ‘be’ someone and to ‘do’ something.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. - Ephesians 2:10
The great irony, is that in the doing you discover the being.
When I was conceived, God made me to be Annie - a woman, daughter, sister, wife, and mother. When I die, I will still be Annie. He made me to create and perform musical works of beauty that draw men to Himself. He made to teach others to do the same. He made me to bake biscuits, love my husband, change diapers, read books, fold laundry, and…to be David’s mother.
So when David asks me “Mom, what should I be when I grow up?” I reply,
“You should be David. God made you to be David. And what he made you to do is many things. Maybe perform music. Maybe fly to the moon.”
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