What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

My daughter Emma (right) and her cousin Kaley (left).
My daughter Emma (right) and her cousin Kaley (left).

I love asking that question of kids.  It’s such an adventure to hear their responses.  I’m sure all of us had this question asked of us when we were young and I bet our answers were carefree and fun, full of excitement for the future.  When we’re young, things are simple.  We’re still amazed by the world around us and fascinated by the unknown.  We find simple pleasure in just existing and learning new things.  There’s an adventure around every corner.

But something happens as we age.  Sure, there are some who hold on to their child-like whimsy and cherish everyday pleasures , but most grow into a state of fear and worry.  It can be seen in the decisions adults make and questions we ask.  Things begin to become too serious and we ask questions like “What if I don’t make it? or “I hope I have enough money to pay all of the bills.”  We doubt our family life and make inquiries like “Why can’t I get along with my spouse?” or “What will I do about my child causing trouble at school?”  Everything we do becomes rooted in fear or trying to impress those around us.

On the other hand, look at how a child faces life.  There is a glow on their face when exploring something new.  Their questions are rooted in curiosity.  They say things like, “What is your favorite color or animal?” and “Why do we do it this way?”  Many of their questions begin with “What if…”.

So maybe the question “What do you want to be?” should be changed.  Maybe, instead of a question, we give children a suggestion.  We tell them to “always stay young and curious.  Enjoy life and the world around you.  And don’t worry too much.  There’ll be plenty of others who will do that for you!”

-Joe

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