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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: Hello Liazanne
    you have really been blessed to have very understanding parents. The topic of discussion is kids. What I wanted to convey is that some parents create problems for themselves at times, the kid is not be blamed.

    Say an eight year declares : 'Mom I want to be Doctor" Now from day one the parents go hammer and tong to make their kids dream come true. They announce proudly to their family and friends and, and the fun starts when the child now 15 says he/she wants to be dancer :))

    So patents should be more concerned with the overall happiness of their kid. They should act as mentors and friends. Now days their our many Professionals in the field, who based on scientific facts can understand the aptitude of the child.

    I want to be a team leader, but my fact sheet says I am a good follower, so here the parents play an active role. They are the best guide, and the facts are there, the kid has grown up and now can take a decision.
    • Jun 26 2013: This is incredibly important, Asgar.
      When I heard on the news about the recent peak in suicides in India due to failing grades, I was horrified that many of these kids actually took their own lives because they felt they couldn't live up to their family's expectations as far as succeeding in the right' career.
      Why was there so much pressure on them to succeed in a high-paying job? The desire for money. And what was this desire for money based on? The achievement of the kind of life 'as seen on TV'. The media plays the biggest role in warping our minds, convincing us that the life we have simply isn't good enough. In my opinion, it is a destructive thing to their children in a such a position, or to live vicariously through them. My priority is, like yours, "the overall happiness of their kid".

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