Over the past year or so, I’ve had my fair share of conversations with taxi drivers. The majority of them tend to start off in the same way…
‘You off to work?’
‘Oh what do you do?’
‘I’m a doctor’.
Yes, at times it can get boring. It’s the same responses and especially when I’m tired, I prefer to keep my answers brief and read a book instead. However over the past couple of weeks, there have been two chat encounters which I wanted to reflect on, both of which have a recurring theme-the drivers were parents, and they wanted their children to be doctors.
The first conversation involved an driver, who told me that his son had graduated from medical school one year ago, and is now working as a doctor. I congratulated him.
‘So you must be very proud of him. How is he finding it so far?’ I asked.
‘Oh he doesn’t like it, he hates being a doctor’.
It turns out that the driver has always dreamed of his son becoming a doctor, so he saved up to put him through medical school. He paid for his accommodation, travel expenses, petrol, everything. His son, however never wanted to become one. He wanted to study economics. And now he hates his dad for his new found career. I was curious and asked the driver what he would like his son to specialise in…
‘Surgery, I want him to be a surgeon’.
The second conversation involved a driver, who inquired about what type of high school I went to, where I studied medicine and what I specialise in. He then went on to speak about his 3 year old daughter. He explained that he wants her to be a doctor, and has made several attempts to get her interested in science.
‘She can tell you all the planets. We also bought her one of those books about the human body…oh what’s it called?’
‘Anatomy?’ I replied
‘Yes, an anatomy book!’.
I then started to think about how I got into medicine. Did my parents want me to become a doctor? Deep down yes. I think the difference though, was that they didn’t pressure me into becoming one. They didn’t force me to attend medical school, nor did they thrust anatomy books upon me as a 3 year old.
I don’t think I had any real external influences to become a doctor. We don’t have any in my family apart from my grandfather, who passed away long before I was born. But a part of me always knew I wanted to be one, and I couldn’t see myself becoming anything else. I think in the end it comes down to the individual, and there is no point in resenting others for a choice they made. If your parents really want you to become something which you don’t believe is you, why would you go down that path? After all it’s your life you’re living, not somebody else’s.