Everything Wrong with the Question What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up? | Teen Ink

Everything Wrong with the Question What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?

April 24, 2019
By izzy_boyd BRONZE, Chesnee, South Carolina
izzy_boyd BRONZE, Chesnee, South Carolina
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” The question asked all the way from 1st grade through high school. I always thought this was an odd question. It’s like asking a baby which toy they want to play with for eternity. Except the toy has to support you and your potential family along with other pricey topics such as health care, insurance, and housing. I do agree that we need to excite children into discovering different career fields but the question suggests otherwise. “What do you want to be when you grow up” is such a loaded questions for children and even high schoolers to answer. The question itself shows certainty that everyone knows exactly what they want to be. Personally, my experience with this question has lead me nowhere but through different university websites and unbearable stress. I did not decide what I actually wanted to do until about six months ago, just beginning my freshman year in high school. What this question does not inform you is that choosing a career is not something that can be made in a day, week, or even a month. This choice has to be made based on what you love but also what can suit you financially, mentally, and physically. The balance of this question is just not there. In elementary and middle school we are taught to do what we love and what excites us. But for many different reasons including what that person can physically and financially endure we are left with unrealistic goals. On the other hand, high schoolers are taught a harsh reality. High Schoolers are taught to choose a career based on income and benefits rather than what they actually enjoy. This method of determining your career is going to leave new comers in the workforce dreading there work. The question of “what do you want to be when you grow up” should not be asked but instead implemented. Schools, communities, and teachers alike should encourage younger children to delve into career possibilities that seem wild while also informing them on monetary expenses and the price of being an adult.

The author's comments:

I was inspired to write this piece through my own struggles with career decisions. 

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