Thursday, November 3, 2011

Moving Beyond "What do You want to be When You Grow Up?"

If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I could take a really snazzy vacation!  It is one of the more common phrases that adults (myself included) ask kids.  It starts when they are in preschool and continues until they are in high school.  Then the questions often change to “Where are you going to college?” and “What are you majoring in?”. 

We have an opportunity to move beyond these basic questions with our children and get them thinking about deeper concepts --- careers that fit their personalities and talents, goals (both personal and professional ) for different stages of their lives and steps they can take at a young age to get closer to their dreams.  I am not saying that we should sit down our 8 year old and subject him to an intense job interview and personality exam.  However, over time through normal conversations and everyday life, we could plant the seeds of thought so that when our teens are ready to leave the nest, they will have more specific ideas, goals and plans.

Here are some conversation starters and questions that move beyond “What do you want to be when you grow up?”.

1.  What do you like to do in your spare time?
2.  What do you think you are good at?
3.  What have you done lately that left you feeling happy?
4.  What careers use these skills?
5.  What do you think you will be doing when you are 25? 35? 45?
6.  Where do you think you will live when you are all grown up?
7.  What would you do with a million dollars?
8.  What is more important --- making money or enjoying your job?  Is one more important than       the other?
9.  How much money will you need to make to live the lifestyle you want to have?
10. Are there jobs available in the area that you like?
11. Do you have an idea for a brand new item?  What would it take to turn this idea into a business?

Please share your thoughts or ideas in the comments below.  And...thank you to my 8 year old for providing today's artwork!


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