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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":

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 26 2013: So very true, and indeed a sad state of affairs. Nani Palkhiwala in his book 'We the Nation' states that Education today, churns out ' educated terrorists' It is really pathetic to see affluent and educated parents goading their kids to take up subjects, not only because of good monetary returns but to enhance their prestige in their affluent circle.

    • Jun 27 2013: Wow, this is a powerful article, and I think applicable to many systems of education around the world.
      This phrase really sticks with me:

      "Any satisfactory system of education should aim at a balanced growth of the individual and insist on both knowledge and wisdom. It should not only train intellect, but bring grace into the heart of man."

      I read that as meaning that knowledge is as important as building empathy, and kindness. Here here, to that!

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