Where do you want to get to in life?

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.

An anime stylized eye.

An anime stylized eye. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


7 thoughts on “Where do you want to get to in life?

  1. Pingback: Where do you want to get to in life? « Unschooling to College

  2. So very true! I have to remind myself of this when my twelve year old daughter is writing stories for hours instead of doing “other stuff”. Also that she will most likely be an author someday and that she is working toward her life goal when she writes. As a parent I have struggled with wanting to see her do more of a variety of things in recent years, but she has found what makes her happy and she does it well!

      • It brings tears to my eyes to read your sentence, “It is not easy trusting the choices our children make.” How absolutely wonderful that, despite its not being easy, you do this. So many parents would have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

  3. Have you ever read James Hillman’s book THE SOUL’S CODE? I’m not recommending it because I think you “need” to read it. (I hate when people do that, as though they won’t deign to carry on a conversation with you until you’ve read the same literature they have.) But I think you might really enjoy it. It’s about how the callings of many famous people showed themselves in childhood. I loved it.

  4. Pingback: Unschooling and Sound Craftsmen | Sharon Rawlette

    • Love James Hillman, and loved “The Soul’s Code”, though I read it long time ago. I just finished reading part 1 of his Biography. It was fascinating! And what was really interesting reading it was to see how long it took Hillman to connect the dots when it came to his own calling. If he took that long, we can allow ourselves and our children the time we need to figure things out!

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