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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: Lizanne, I read a joke last week: Child: Dad, where do babies come from. Dad: Total shock and silance. Child: Its ok Dad if you don't know the answer just say so.

    As parents we agreed to answer all question in the most honest means possable. We did not set out to destroy Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny ... but a serious question should be delt with in the same manner .. serious. It is easier to use a correct medical term than to start the cutsie name game ... this does not mean to be blunt and uncaring ...

    It is my opinion that the kids have enough friends ... they need parents that are honest and can be trusted. When one of the children comes to talk ... stop what you are doing and look at them and reply as best you can.

    Kids do not come with a operations manual. Do the best we can and supply them with love, respect, and honesty.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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      Jun 25 2013: Loved your contribution Robert!!
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      Jun 25 2013: Good one Robert!
      That reminds me of a story with my daughter when she was about 2-3 years old! She was playing in the yard with her friend, when she came running in the house asking.....mom.....where did I come from?

      I always tried to answer their questions with age appropriate honestly. As I was pondering how to simply and honestly explain the reproductive system, she got impatient with me and said.....mom.....my friend is from Burlington.....where did I come from? She wanted the name of a town/city.....not the reproductive story!!! LOL:>)
    • Jun 26 2013: Wonderful, Robert!

      When my kids started asking me 'THE' question, I pulled out Lennart Nillson's 'Miracle of Birth' DVD. We got (age-appropriate) books from the library, I told them all about how they were born, the weeks before, the days before, the minutes before... and look at them now!

      You mentioned Santa and the Easter Bunny. My daughter has wiggly teeth, so we're getting frequent visits from the Tooth Fairy these days. She told me, that a friend in her class told her that the Tooth Fairy isn't real, and that Mama and Papa take the tooth away. She asked me, if that is true? So, I asked her, "What do you think?", knowing I was throwing the ball in her court. She grinned from ear to ear, and said "No! The Tooth Fairy IS real!"

      When she is done believing in fairies, she'll let me know. Till then, we've got fairies galore.

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