Asking the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” is a dangerous question, but the most important one young people will answer.
But there is a solution.
It seems innocent enough, and we have all done it. We ask young children, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" it usually ends in a singular answer.
I want to be a veterinarian. I want to be a pilot. I want to be a ballerina.
Then, the inquiring adult, oohs and ahh's at the answer and moves on.
Should this really be the level of attention that this question and answer gets given that this is one of the most important questions that our kids have to answer while they are in school?
OF COURSE NOT!
This is why this question is dangerous:
1. The more that kids give this answer, the more that they recommit to themselves that this is their choice.
2. They may begin to feel that they will let their teacher or parent down if they change their mind.
3. They are beginning to decide on activities to be involved in and may choose based on a career path that they are actually not well suited for.
This question is only dangerous because of the lack of resources to find an answer:
I believe that we can serve our children better and make career exploration a bigger part of our classrooms through role models and reading. We should teach kids about all sorts of career paths at a young age so that they have time to develop the educational and extra curricular skills that will allow them to excel and thrive as adults.