When I grow up…

Time to Read – Adults 50 seconds – Children you already know

If a young person you are close to, says they want to be an astronaut when they grow up, how would you reply?

Oh! What a big moment of choice for you – do you tell “the truth” and explain how difficult that would be – education, dedication, hard work?

Or do you say, “And you will be a very good astronaut”

I suggest the latter

Indeed, whatever your child/niece/nephew/young friend says in terms of what they are going to be, say the same “And you will be a very good…”


Because it will give them more choices in life (and higher self esteem), because tomorrow they will want to be something different anyway and because what right do you have to impose your limited beliefs on ambition?

With love to the child that is going to fly as a result of what you say to them today


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  • Rosie

    I agree 99% with the proviso that when it comes to sorting GCSE options and making choices and encouraging them to work hard for their qualitfications, support and encouragement is given in a positive way to get the best subjects and grade to pursue their goal. I am NOT saying though ever to say for example ‘well you need biology to do that and you are rubbish at that so choose something else’ when there is a goal in mind older children can understand you have to take certain small steps to get there.

  • Steve

    I can neither agree nor disagree with this. My reaction to childrens assertions of future roles is to always encourage them to look a little further by responding ” Oh yes that’s great,…..and why do you want to be an astronaught/ footballer/ doctor/ dancer?” It helps and encourages them to communicate and also to question or consider issues put to them.
    It is always interesting to hear the answer as I find you get a very open and honest insight into the childs character in the early years.
    This approach works right through life regardless of age especially for adults who are making a real decision about a life path change, or teenagers who are making decisions on their first life path. The follow-up questions get a little more complicated though as the people get older.

  • davidtaylor

    Rosie’s point is well made – not to encourage youngsters to be general all rounders and to discover their strengths/passions early, and Steve yes what a novel approach if we applied this to adults as well, albeit a bigger challenge in the detail.

  • Listening to children’s thoughts is fascinating. I try to encourage them to tell me what they want to be and then let them believe that it is possible.
    If they are told from a young age, they can’t do this and that, then their ambition will be curatiled.
    I love to let them have broad horizons and encourage this.

  • I agree that you should give children every reason to dream. They will have their knock backs and you can realistic with them later.
    They dream about father Christmas and that is probably the biggest lie we tell them. So let them think they can be whatever they want. It fuels the imagination.

  • I agree that children should be given their wings. They can be clipped when they are older!

  • Imagine the uproar if we announced to children that actually, father Christmas wasn’t true and we were being less than honest with them on Dec 25th.
    You have to play along with children and let them have their world of imagination. It’s all over too quickly in any case!

  • If we steal the dreams of children it would be a crime in my opinion.

  • Let’s not get carried away. Dreams are important although there can be a balance I feel. Tell them some things are real and not others.

  • We all need to have the freedom state of midn like children to dream and believe we can do anything we put our minds to. Rather than say “it can’t be done” adults should re-phrase and say “I know I can.”

  • Some children are susceptible to things that others aren’t. Some react differently to knock backs. Let’s just leave it to the fact that everybody is different and should be allowed to have their own aspirations.

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