In the past, many have said that children shouldn’t be thinking about careers too early. How do you know they won’t decide early they want to be a nurse, stay on that path, get educated, and then realize they really want to be a professional golfer? Look at how many adults are trapped in jobs that are not at all fulfilling to them because they settled on it too early in life.
This argument may have had some value years ago, but not so much anymore. A child today will have multiple careers in his lifetime. That is what our fast-changing world demands these days.
Because of this, we can look at the early interests and talents of a child as an important first step to possibly a first career while also being a steppingstone to many other different careers as well. In fact, the world of work has changed amazingly. Future workers may have as many as half a dozen different careers in their lifetime.
Being able to combine an early first interest with another and another interest down the road will only make a person more valuable and successful over time. “Nurse Andy” can learn a lot about medicine in that career and still become a great golfer in a second career by using what he knows about the human body, health, and wellness.
Children need to start early to think of careers in terms of many possibilities, not just one. That famous question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is not really the best question nowadays. Even if a child’s answer ended up being his first job, it will not likely be his only job.
I suggest you ask instead, “What are three things you want to do when you grow up?” It will
encourage your child to think she has lots of things she can do in the future. How exciting is that? If she wants to be both a dancer and a firefighter – she can.
So, don’t worry about your child thinking of his interests and skills as a career – no matter how young she is. Just make sure she knows that changing her mind is OK – not only just OK, but one more thing that makes her special.
All her interests and skills are like building blocks. How she stacks them up over time will be very different from how anybody else stacks them up – and her “stack” will make her a star!
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