TED Conversations

Lizanne Hennessey

Singer Songwriter & Vocal Coach, Lizanne Hennessey - Voice Coach


This conversation is closed.

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?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • W T 100+

    • +3
    Jul 6 2013: LIZANNE!!!....LOOK WHAT I FOUND........

    • Jul 6 2013: Mary, this is golden!!! Straight from source! Thank you!!!
      I loved how Logan said that question is posed with the intention of finding out how kids can make a living, not how to make a life.
    • thumb
      Jul 8 2013: "If your work isn't what you love, then something isn't right." - Talking Heads (David Byrne)

      • W T 100+

        • 0
        Jul 8 2013: I had never heard this song before.
        Thanks for sharing.
    • thumb

      . . 100+

      • +1
      Jul 9 2013: Right on Mary!!
      Thanks for your awesome work
      I appreciate your wonderful energy and
      look forward to reading your inspiring posts:)

      "Happy and Healthy"
      ........let Logan guide our way!!
      • W T 100+

        • 0
        Jul 9 2013: Hi Juliette!!

        Ah shucks......all I did was share a link :)

        Wasn't that kid something else?
      • W T 100+

        • 0
        Jul 12 2013: Hi Juliette, I meant to reply to your other comment yesterday....but I keep getting interrupted and I have lost track of my comments.

        Thank you for your kind words Juliette.
        I also enjoy reading you wonderful comments.
        Bright and cheery......

        Have a great weekend.......which is just around the corner!!
        • thumb

          . . 100+

          • +1
          Jul 12 2013: Thank you Mary M.! There are so many wonderful people in this world, and only a few who have the innate talent to create a warm sense of community, a cohesion, that is crucial for growth......The world needs a lot more of you in it.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.