When I Grow Up
By Norah Colvin
Do you remember being asked this question as a child? Or contemplating it, even if you weren’t asked? Do you recall your childhood thoughts?
I remember having no aspiration prior to the age of ten when I decided I wanted to be a teacher. Although I loved writing, creating stories, songs, poetry and plays; writing was a part of who I was, an integral part of me, I didn’t consider a writer as something I might be.
It is often mooted that we are educating today’s children for a future of which we have no knowledge, a future we can’t begin to imagine. But hasn’t that always been so? Has any generation known exactly what life will be like for those following? While the rate of change may be increasing, change has always been.
Though it may sometimes appear otherwise, change creates more possibilities than the opportunities it erases. It may require us to let go of prior, and even current, world views in order to adjust and adapt our vision to altering paths.
I am envious of many of the choices available to young people now, and often lament that I was born too soon. But is it less to do with the time of my arrival than with choices I made? I think the answers are intertwined. The choices were influenced by the expectations of the era in which I grew up, choices that seem extremely limited, and limiting, now.
I wonder, if we could travel back in time and whisper in the ear of the child we were, somewhere between the ages of six and ten, what would we tell them to think, and how would we tell them to respond, when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” How would we steer the journey?
Would you rather stay in the era of your childhood; or perhaps in childhood forever, as did the child in A.A. Milne’s poem who decided, “I’ll think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.”
Maybe you’d give instructions on how to be happy, a choice that is often attributed to the five-year-old John Lennon.
While John Lennon was supposedly told that he didn’t understand the assignment, I am giving you greater flexibility in how you respond to this first of the challenges of the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo.
CHALLENGE OPTION: This contest has now closed. You may use this as a prompt challenge. Weekly Flash Fiction Challenges resume November 2.
When I grow up. Cast yourself back to six years of age, knowing what you do of life in the present; what would you want to be when you grow up and how would you go about achieving that goal? Tell us in 100 words, no more no less. It can be real or imaginary, serious or light-hearted. Extra points for comparing it to your childhood choice, if you remember it.
Aim for a century – 100 words, not including the title.
THANK YOU FOR ENTERING! CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
Submissions close at Midnight AEST 10 October. Submissions after that date will be disqualified.
The winner will be announced on Tuesday, 7 November.
Judges will rate the stories according to
- Story length.
- Relevancy to the prompt.
- How well the story captures the voice of a child.
- Originality, engagement, and interest.
- Story structure.
- Consistency with tense and agreement.
About Carrot Ranch
Carrot Ranch is a literary community committed to providing all writers access to literary art regardless of backgrounds, genres, goals and locations. Common ground is found through the writing, reading and discussion of flash fiction. The weekly online flash fiction challenges promote community through process, craft and exploration, and regular participants form a literary group called The Congress of Rough Writers. Their first anthology, Vol. 1 publishes in 2017. Carrot Ranch offers an adult-learning program called Wrangling Words, available to all communities where Rough Writers reside.