While we were making cookies tonight, my daughter shared with me that a friend told her she will get nowhere in life if she continues to watch Anime (Japanese animation) all the time. I told my daughter to ask her friend where does she (the friend) wants to get to in life. My daughter thought it was a funny question, but then proceeded to tell me that she – herself – wanted to design apps or write Manga when she grows up (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manga). “In that case,” I said “watching Anime will probably help to get you there”.
When my boys were young, we lived in Israel and were the only homeschooling family around. Never the less, since our house was very kid-friendly, we had other kids from the village come to play with the boys, daily. Every now and then my older son would tell me that someone told him he will never be able to get a job because he didn’t go to school. My boys continued to hear those dire predictions throughout their unschooling life (if they could only see them now: enjoying their work and earning good money…).
These statements were never the children’s. Kids do not think or talk this way. Rather it was something they heard their parents say when they inquired about why their friend can stay home and not go to school; or why their friend can watch Anime all day long. And parents repeat what they have heard from their parents. Which once – quite a long time ago – may have been true, but in today’s world has no traction.
So the questions we should all be asking ourselves (no matter how old we are) are: Where do we want to get to in life? What do we want to do when we grow up? Am I happy and interested in what I am doing now? Am I working towards something I want to achieve? Is doing busy work for many years really necessary and if so what will it cost me? (Creativity, joy, interest, courage, thinking for myself)
Especially in today’s rapidly changing world going to school and doing the “school thing” guarantees nothing; not when it comes to getting a job and definitely not when it comes to personal happiness and finding your way in life. In my mind – though nothing is assured – the best way to get clear on what you want to do when you grow-up is to do what you want to do right now.
Whether you are an adult or a child, if you get into the habit of doing what you want to do at any given moment, chances are you will continue to do so when you can, rather than follow someone else’s “getting there” plan for the rest of your life.