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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: Instead of asking what the kids want to be when they grow up, we should ask them if we can grow down and party with them as kids. Childhood is a cherished period of life not only for the kids but for the parents too because it is a rare oppertunity for the parents to participate in a process of observing a better, fuller and wiser human being coming to shape in front of us.
    I did my best to relive a second life with my son, learning creyon painting, bayblade running, playing angry birds (so many techniques, you know), reading comics, then when he was in teens discussing girls, drinking beer without telling his mom, fishing (I entirely learnt it, no previous skills). Now that he is eighteen and he keeps his mobile conversations to himself - I wonder what I want to be when I am a kid again.
    Edit: I have yet not given up. I am revising differential equations from my son's books now and discovered that for second order equations I had some grey area that I can brush up now.
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      Jun 25 2013: Well said Pabitra...I LOVE it....ask them if we can grow down and party with them!!! Did you by any chance see the comment in which I provided the link with an article in "Maturity Magazine" about my play group? The article is titled..."Play with kids your own age". We're not really sure why we were featured in that magazine, because we're not sure if we are "mature" yet! LOL

      FYI -
      There seems to be a certain time when they start keeping information to themselves (teens), and now that my "children" are in their 40s, I am getting some of that information! LOL:>)
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        Jun 25 2013: I must have missed it Colleen. Will you please give me the link?
        It is silly to call people of age mature :) I am not going to be mature ever. A week ago, I had a round of kite flying and my neck and arm were sore from the exertion. I tried to explain to Sumana, in between scoldings, why it is so important to fly a kite at 51 :D
        It's a relief to know that I can make up on lost information sometime later and thank you for sharing this piece of info.
    • Jun 26 2013: YES!!
      Growing down! I love it!!

      Right now, my parents are visiting from the states. My kids are seeing first-hand that I am also someone's kid, and they adore it! My dad will still tickle me, which makes them just giggle to pieces.
      The other day, I almost peed myself when we all put on our baggy clothes and stuffed them with blankets, cushions, plush toys... then we rolled around on the floor and bumped into each other.
      That was definitely some growing-down time!!!

      Colleen, thank you for those links! Wonderful!

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