Tonawanda News

Opinion

August 22, 2013

KEPPELER: Thinking of the class of 2026

Tonawanda News — He wants to be a doctor.

I typed those words. Looked at them for a bit. Thought about what they make me feel: A combination of pride ... and utter panic.

My 5-year-old, fresh from his own annual “well child” pediatrician visit, has been on a kick of utter fascination with the medical field lately.

He bustles up when you’ve managed to sit down for a moment or two, insists on looking in your eyes and ears and mouth and listens with grave demeanor to your heart. Maybe he lectures you, just a little, about eating well and “running a lot.” (To Sam, “Running = exercise.”)

If you’re not feeling well, then it really kicks in. You need to lie down. And once you’re lying down, he must cover you with a blanket (and kiss you on the forehead). If you have a scrape, he knows where we keep the Band-Aids, and will emerge from the bathroom with a fistful. 

He told me, a few weeks ago, that he wants to be a doctor. A heart doctor, in fact, like the one his big brother sees once a year. Sam has grown up knowing that Jim’s heart needs just a little extra care.

I was touched beyond belief when he told me that. I wasn’t too worried. Not-quite-kindergartners have a lot of big dreams, although this one is a big more realistic than some. (”Jedi” has previously topped the list of things Sam wants to be when he grows up.) And in the decade or so before we have to start looking at colleges, a lot of things could change.

Some of them not for the better.

This week, I’ve been looking a lot at the cost of college tuition. The rise in costs, especially for low- or middle-class families such as my own, is one of the things President Obama is expected to talk about today at the University at Buffalo. And I’m not ashamed to say that it’s difficult not to start hyperventilating a bit at the numbers, so much higher than I remember in my own college year in the mid-1990s.

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