As a child I did just about everything: basketball, softball, volleyball, karate, gymnastics, ballet, tap, jazz, girl scouts, theater, trumpet, piano, and probably a few others that I can't remember. Now some of these trades I was really good at, and I'll be the first to admit there were some in which I did not excel. Thanks to my parents I was able to participate in various activities and learn how to be a part of a team and interact with people. My parents allowed me to have a lot of input in what I wanted to do. They never pushed too hard in any one direction--they let me make the choice. On the one hand, it was great that they let me be my own person. On the other hand, there were some decisions where their advice would have been helpful.
For example, I started doing gymnatics at a very young age (4 or 5). I was really good at it. After a couple of years, I discovered karate and wanted to try it. My mother told me I had to choose between gymnastics and karate because we couldn't afford for me to do both. I didn't know any better so I chose karate. That only lasted a couple of months before I was ready to move on to my next discovery. I often wonder how different my life would have been if I had stayed with gymnastics. I'm not blaming my mother or saying she should have made the decision for me, but I think she could have persuaded me to stick with gymnastics.
Another example is the trumpet. I was a wonderful trumpet player. It came naturally. I rarely practiced, but I was still chosen as 1st trumpet every year. I started playing in the thrid grade. When I got to high school, I played my freshman year. It was at that point that I decided I was too "cool" to be a band geek. The next year the band director sought me out to be in the band and I said no. My parents allowed me to quit because I said I didn't want to do it anymore. This decision I think was by far the worst one I ever made. I love music and I love to sing. Though I cannot sing my way out of a paper bag, I was a really good musician. Once I learned how to read music from playing the trumpet, I taught myself how to play the piano. I would love to pick up an instrument right now and play. I still know the notes, but my playing skills have diminished greatly.
I know that I should not dwell on the past and what might have been, but I'm wondering what childhood trades I can channel in my adult life to help me figure out "what I want to be when I grow up." For now I'm just Joan of all Trades!