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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 23 2013: When children are young we watch with great pleasure as they play and discover the world around them but after a while we loose patience and start controlling them rather than teaching them. To make them fit some preconceived idea of how they should act and interact. This restrict there individuality and they soon become part of something that they might not like. How do you talk to kids? You don't. You set a good example and hope they find some value in it.
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      Jul 23 2013: a ha ,good."u set a good example and hope they find some value in it"
    • Jul 23 2013: Raymond,
      This is true, children are often the 'victims' of parents who try to achieve their own failures through them, or live vicariously theough them, or push them in directions that aren't right for them. This is exactly why I posed this question. I still find communication essential, though. To me, your answer touches on the vital difference between talking TO and talking AT kids.

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