From the time we are young, we are asked to look to the future and find our purpose. Now, as Avenue Q can tell you, your purpose isn’t always so easy to find! Yet this is something that starts getting talked about in schools as young as 10 years old. In Kiki’s Delivery Service, she has known her whole life that, if she wanted to be a witch, when she was 13 years old she would leave her family for a year and make her own way in the world. If you look at the book Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono, you actually find out after a year she is only allowed a brief visit and then expected to leave again! Because each witch specializes in different things, their parents cannot possibly prepare them for the hardships they may face. It is up to each witch to look inside herself and find that special something that lets people know they are doing the right thing and persevere.
A look at purpose at a young age. When I was 10, I wanted to be a lawyer. When I was 15, I wanted to be a Lawyer, or a teacher, and a writer. When I went to college, it quickly became clear to me that financially I was not able to become a lawyer. I studied to be a teacher. Kiki had this one chance to be a witch. In the books, it is made clear that if a witch does not wish to retain her powers, she can stay home and pursue a normal life, but leaving at age 13 is it. It is your one shot to be a witch. You cannot stay home and wait until you are 18 and then pursue being a witch. Kiki knew without a shadow of a doubt she wanted to be a witch, but she didn’t know what kind of witch. Her mother had always told her that a witch did the most good if there was a give-and-take lifestyle. The witch would provide a service and people would give what they could; be it food, shelter, or a little money. Throughout the story, Kiki is given money in the movie, but in the book she got a pillow made for Jiji, a place to stay, food, and other items for her work as a delivery service.
Hardships. They come to us all no matter our age. They can change the course of our life, or like Kiki, help us determine we are on the right path. My dream of becoming a teacher ended when I was hit by a car while crossing the street. After a large amount of time off, I was unable to do the duties required for me in my position anymore. This hardship determined a change in my career that I never could have foreseen at age 15. For Kiki, her hardship was that she got ill and began to have a hard time understanding Jiji and flying (movie). A possible other explanation for her sudden loss in powers was her loss in her faith of Tombo’s friendship. She began to question if she was good enough to be a witch. If she couldn’t fly, the most basic of witches’ skills, and she still had no special skill that defined her craft, maybe she wasn’t meant to be a witch.
Perseverance. Kiki never stopped trying to fly. In the movie, she broke her broom trying to teach herself to fly again. in the book, Tombo broke her broom after stealing it to see if it would let him fly as well. In both cases, Kiki makes a new broom and starts having trouble making her deliveries. In the movie, it is clear that this leads to some depressive feelings for her. In the book, Kiki is determined to make the broom listen to her, and her deliveries start going smoothly again. In the movie, it takes seeing Tombo in danger to make her go out and grab a random broom to go and rescue him. Kiki had found what made her a good witch: her ability to put her friends first.
While everything works out for Kiki in the movie, and the first book of Eiko Kadono’s series, it’s not always as easy for people in real life. Nicque Marina, a TikTok artist, said in a video that it is unfair to expect teenagers to know what they want at age 15. That they make us feel out a life plan and that if we go off plan we feel like failures. While I wholeheartedly agree with this view, allowing children to drift to and fro isn’t an option either. It is our job as parents to help them find what they want to go after and set them on a path towards achieving it. Is 13 a safe age? Definitely not by today’s standards. Is 15 the right age? Who knows? But all of us can learn a lesson in knowing what we want and striving towards it no matter your obstacle from Kiki’s Delivery Service.