"When I was a kid, I dreaded the question." ~Adam Grant
"What do you want to be when you grow up?" That's a question we can all relate to in one way or another. Either you were asked it, you've asked it, or both.
The other day the title of an article, "Stop Asking Kids What They Want To Be When They Grow Up," caught my attention. Adam Grant, the author and an organizational psychologist stated, "The question forces children to define themselves in terms of work." As a retired teacher, parent, and grandparent, I spent some time mulling over his thoughts. I'm certain I've asked the question, and guessing many other adults have as well, just as adults in our young lives asked us.
Thinking back many years to my childhood, common answers were fireman, policeman, nurse, teacher, and even cowboy or cowgirl. What percentage of past generations actually achieved their childhood replies? Kids now have a much broader spectrum to choose their responses on any given day. Today there are careers and jobs that didn't even exist a few years ago. And I expect new job titles and careers are yet to come into existence.
In days gone by, folks stayed with a company or even a career for their entire work life. (My husband had several job titles with the same company for 45+ years until he retired six years ago, for example. That sort of employment tenure is becoming extinct like dinosaurs.) I recall many years ago in a college class or workshop, a professor stated that in the future people will have many jobs, employers, and/or careers in their work life. How prophetic.
Rather than asking kids what they want to be when they grow up, Mr. Grant proposes, "Instead, invite them to think about what kind of person they want to be -- and about all the different things they might want to do."
Makes sense in 2019, don't you think?