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Lizanne Hennessey

Singer Songwriter & Vocal Coach, Lizanne Hennessey - Voice Coach

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How can we talk to kids?

How many of us have (albeit inadvertently) asked a child, "What are you going to be when you grow up"? Admittedly, I have caught myself doing this.

It's a bizarre way of making small-talk with a child, isn't it?
"Having fun in the sandbox? That's a cool sandcastle... so tell me, kid, what is your ultimate goal in life?" This isn't an easy question for anyone to answer, let alone a 5-year-old.

To me, this question reinforces the way our system is put together - which is designed to mold children into consumers, so they will be instrumental in our economic growth. At the same time, it is a question that can help us understand what drives our kids, what they are passionate about, what their dreams are...

In this article, Jennifer Fulwiler proposes that we should altogether stop asking kids this question, as it "reinforces the idea that the way to find identity and value is through career" and "undermines the concept of vocation":
http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jennifer-fulwiler/lets-stop-asking-children-what-they-want-to-be-when-they-grow-up

How can we talk with kids, encourage them to explore who they are, and get them excited about who they will become, without asking such a weighty question? How can we allow them to expand their imaginations, and let them know they are taken seriously at the same time? How can we differentiate things like a purpose in life, as opposed to a career, in a way that children can focus on and hopefully achieve their passions?

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    Jun 25 2013: Talk to them as you would a friend you care about. Allow them to be, all they can be, but ask them to respect you, for all that you can be. Be mutually beneficial, make deals that you both agree to. Let them think and be heard, seen and acknowledged. Let them know when they have screwed up and why. Be there, when they need guidance. Be there, when you feel a hurt heart. Let them know everything is going to be alright, despite what it looks like, that nothing is as it seems, that is why you taught them that, as one of the Four Agreements when they were very young. Sometimes this is the only way someone can survive in this world... is if they know this.
    • Jun 26 2013: This is exactly how I feel, Crystal.
      It's about taking one another seriously, showing respect, regardless of age.
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        Jun 26 2013: Thanks Lizanne, we, have a lot of work to do on this one... however, if we can each by example practice mutual respect in as many relationships as we have, our children may decide we are worthy of saving after all..... We are in such interesting times, as all the garbage on the planet comes to surface, both materially as well as emotionally. Hoping young tender hearts, can be strong enough to weather the pain and make sense of it all. Many natural disasters bringing compassion and good in the wake of tragedy. We can only draw from this basic human condition and apply as opportunities allow. BlesSings to you! C*
        • Jun 27 2013: Your comment, Crystal, brought a strong visual to mind, namely the Landfill Harmonic.
          I've mentioned it before in other conversations, but find it so appropriate to what you said: "all the garbage on the planet comes to surface, both materially as well as emotionally. Hoping young tender hearts, can be strong enough to weather the pain and make sense of it all."
          These kids did:
          http://vimeo.com/52129103

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