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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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  • Jul 8 2013: I don't remember anyone asking me what I would be when I grew up.

    I do remember playing school alot, and telling everybody I would be a teacher without being asked.
    And that is what I am, a teacher.

    With my kids, I don't ask them what they want to be.

    When I see them doing something creative in nature and I see an inclination, I discreetly mention that there are adults who use that talent in their work and make money doing it.

    I have no idea what my kids will be when they grow up......I'm hoping they will be happy.

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