I first heard of this interesting line of work as a life's goal the first semester some of my children were in American schools. I was trying to convince my daughter to get her homework done when she asked in broken English, "Why you care? This my school."
"I want you to be able to go to college and get a good education so you can get a good job if you need to someday."
"I don't want to go college," she responded matter-of-factly.
"Oh, then how will you get a job if something happens to your husband?"
"Oh? Well, then how will you make money?"
Shocked, I practically hollered, "I didn't bring you all the way to America to be a bum!"
Even more shocked, she shot back, "You just brought me here to work?"
ARG! I was swamped in a losing battle.
Obviously there was more culture shock than I was aware there would be. On both ends. I don't understand the mentality. But you know what? It's what they knew. When we hosted them, we asked them through a translator what they would like to be when they grow up. Christina and Alex had no idea. I've never heard of a child just not knowing what they want to be. Even the children in my preschool class want to be SOMETHING, even if it's a frog Prince. Jake did tell us he wanted to be a police officer. It took a very long time before our other ehildren would ever say what they want to be someday.
Today Christina dreams of serving an LDS mission to Greece, getting married, adopting a child from Africa, and even talks of becoming a pediatrician (after years of college!) She can do it, too. She's a bright girl and she's a girl who has learned how to dream, set goals, work hard, and how to accomplish what she can dream.
As for Alex, he found his dream job when we were in Mexico this past summer and saw a fire-breather on the street. Alex thought he was so cool, but wondered why he was doing it in the middle of the road. I explained that he was waiting for people to throw money to him. His eyes lit up as he almost yelped, "What a GREAT way to earn money!!!"
And Jake? He's going to marry a rich woman who likes to work, so he'll be provided for his whole life.
Luckily, we still have time.