Dessert Island Discs with Dan Pearson. Since Dan Pearson is a also a gardener, and a designer whose work I really like I was listening a little more closely than I do sometimes so I did hear something that made a big impression on me.
He was talking about being groomed for a profession that held no real interest for him, school and society encouraging him into a safe, clean job and I was so much reminded of my own school experience.
Our experience diverged in that when he was thinking about college / university courses, his mother encouraged him by telling him to follow his dream. I wonder how my life would have worked out if instead of being encouraged into a safe, clean job with a pension I had been encouraged to follow my dream. My Mother came from a pretty middle class background, my Father on the other hand was the first generation in his family to have a clerical and then managerial career. With the best will in the world they wanted the best for me but I was always encouraged to follow other peoples dreams, not my own.
I wonder if I had been given permission, never mind encouragement to follow my dream how life would have worked out, however it would have effected my gender identity, my choice of career, big life decisions I am sure it would have made a difference. This affected me so much that I immediately sent a text message to my Daughter telling her to always follow her dream. Maybe the biggest opportunity we can offer our kids is to give them the permission to try.