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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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    Jul 17 2013: Kids should be treated as kids, not simply small adults. Shower unconditional love on them. Give them an allowance, and help them learn about saving and budgeting. Have them help you with doing small housework so they can be with you and learn about life.
    • Jul 18 2013: John, superb thoughts.
      Your comment about small housework reminded me of something that happened yesterday. My daughter, who is almost 7, asked me yesterday if she could wash the dishes. I was thrilled! When I was growing up, washing the dishes was a precious time with either my Dad, or my Mom, or a Grandmother, when we would talk or sing, or just be silent, in any way, together.

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