Have you ever had a conversation with a child about what they want to be when they grow up? Maybe the younger they are, the more thought-provoking the answer. Before you read on, play this fantastic video below. My favourite answers from the video would have to be: a dolphin trainer, a pilot racer, a model, a superhero, a pop star and princess fairy zookeeper.
One of the best things about children is that their imagination fuels their current interests. I love to watch their faces when they realise that working on dinosaurs and learning about them is a real job, and they spend time learning how to pronounce the word palaeontologist.
Provide early steps
As parents, we want to help our kids flourish. Interestingly, sometimes, the hobbies that fascinate them in their early years can shape and inform future aspirations and goals. We must encourage our children to make their own decisions based on what they see around them and what they enjoy. Perhaps it’s an art class, a soccer or athletics team? Maybe they are informed by what you do at home? Do they love to watch you cook, or do they ask you about what you do for work? (Note: I love the little boy in the video below who wants to do what his dad does, but he has no idea what that is. His dad must be some kind of wonderful).
By providing the early steps and helping your child figure out what they would like to try (or not try) and pursue throughout their life, you know that it’s going to be lovely to watch as they grow from fascinated children to critically thinking adults.
Embrace their personality
Are they a natural leader? Are they imaginative or very creative? Are they very focused? Do they have strong opinions? Are they an excellent communicator or a quiet observer? Are they practical or spontaneous? As you pay attention to your little one, these are the things that you will see in your children that are easily translatable into key employable traits that will become valuable to them throughout their lives.
Additionally, their academic results reflect their talents, that can be a crucial indicator in their future through different professions, but it is important to note that some will not flourish in exam-type or school-based assessments. Some work without structure and provide deep insights into their thoughts and feelings and skillset beyond the typical indicators. Thankfully education facilitates different learning styles now more than ever before.
The beauty of humanity lies in our diversity. Even within siblings in a family, there can be many different personalities and learning types. It’s beautiful to see each little person share their thoughts about the world around them.
Invest in their joys
What I mean by this is; buy a soccer net for the backyard, find joy in collecting annual dance costumes and dozens of pairs of shoes, buy paint supplies and take them to big sports matches, encourage them to see things they love and follow them on whatever path they choose. Hobbies and social activities can be costly and time-consuming, but it is important to note that they will thank you for it later in life for your support and assistance in helping them follow their dreams.
By allowing your kids access to resources that will help them along their path of discovery you may find yourself invested at the same time to experience things you didn’t see as a youngster, and it will be fun for the whole family!
Reading is a fantastic way for our children to seek and find inspiration for themselves. Future journalists and writers will find their passions in the written word, and they will naturally excel. For everyone else, we love to hear and learn the stories, to absorb information and retain it for the future. Kids gobble up knowledge by practice as well as learning, so there are many other ways to find inspiration.
A future pilot will stare out the window of a car and watch the planes go by in the sky; an artist will see the world differently from their peers, finding something new to create around every corner. Maybe you have a future marine biologist who begs you to take them to the aquarium every weekend or in school holidays? I love seeing little children at the theatre with their parents and their smiles after watching beautiful theatrical or dance performances.
As a parent, this one seems obvious; however, it doesn’t always come out of our mouths the way we intend in our mind. Be mindful of your words (you know I say that all the time – our words hold power). One of the greatest joys is to see your children succeed. When they need you the most usually isn’t when they are doing well rather when they are stuck, or angry with slow progress (progress is progress, no matter what speed), but the key is even in their sad moments we must be there for them. Tell them something better is coming, and most of all our failures are when we learn the most, even when we don’t realise it. Share a story of your own, a time when things didn’t come so quickly to you and how you managed your way through it. Stories connect us, don’t miss an opportunity like this.
When it comes to our young people and their insights into how they see their future, does your child share their big dreams with you? If so, be sure to listen and absorb every little detail. Be gracious to learn that as fast as inspiration will come, it is also prevalent for their minds to change and their paths to lead somewhere different. Timing is everything. And that is always okay.
Play this video a few times, you won’t be frowning afterwards that’s for sure.