This weekend I caught up on some DVRed episodes of How I Met Your Mother. This scene made me so sad.
Lily: Because he was right; I am just a kindergarten teacher. And, yes, I have a degree in art history, and I was meant to do something with it—but I didn’t. Somewhere along the line I forgot to pursue my dream and, and now I’m old and I’m a Mom and it’s just too late for me.
I feel sad that teaching is portrayed as less than a dream, and that being “old” and a “mom” makes it too late to pursue one’s dreams. The show’s had some story arcs before about Lily wanting to pursue art as her dream, but it did seem like she’d grown to like her teaching career (at least from the absence of work complaints) over the past several seasons. Why go to the job change right away? Why not incorporate art in other ways (e.g., teaching it, creating it part-time and selling it on Etsy)? It’s always possible to “do something” with your passions without abandoning new ones. My friend Melissa is kicking butt at teaching and motherhood, and she’s pursuing her other dream of being a writer through her blog.
The Century Foundation also provides insightful perspective on this…particularly that Marshall could have told her how important she was as a teacher. We can say all we want about education reform, but we have a long way to go. It sure would be nice to see a Hollywood depiction of a real teacher with a balanced life rather than caricatures like Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher or “save all the inner-city kids” types like Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds. The “just a kindergarten teacher” with Lily Aldrin has more impact–because she’s a relatable, regular girl like the rest of us, her disregard of the teaching profession stings more.
Me: I am
just a high school teacher. And, yes, I have a degree in engineering, and I was meant to do something with it—teaching math is it. Somewhere along the line I took a risk in pursuing my dream and, and now I’m 32 and one day I’ll be a Mom and it’ll never be too late for me.