When I Grow Up, I Want to be…

I have been given the opportunity to interact with 7 year olds on a regular basis since the beginning of this year, and admiring the kids’ homework or artwork is something I enjoy immensely. Through the artwork and learning activities displayed around the classrooms, I am offered a small glimpse into the world of young kids in school.

The children in this particular class wrote a simple essay about themselves on a lined A5 sized paper and although there was no title to the article, I figured 2 questions were posed, “What do I like to do?”, and “What do I want to be when I grow up?”.

Firstly, to digress, I was amazed to see that all the kids were able to fit about 4 to 5 sentences within a small piece of paper. These kids are only 1 year older than Matthew, and Matthew is still writing huge and chunky words. Which means to say within 1 year’s time, I should expect Matthew’s motor skills to further develop to allow finer control over his handwriting. That is a lot of development if you ask me! Or am I interpreting it wrongly?

Coming back to the article, and to the question on “What do I like to do?”, most of the children either wrote that they liked to draw or write or read. Nothing struck me as unusual and I was a little disappointed that there is no originality in the response to the question. Then again, I think I could barely read and write English at 7 years old, so who am I to judge?

Now, to the timeless and ageless question of “What do I want to be when I grow up?”. I think I had been asked this question countless times in Primary and Secondary school, and even in Junior College. And I’m ashamed to admit that my answer was always different, hence I am where I am in my working life now.

Looking at the answers the kids wrote, some occupations are simply ageless, and never go out of favour even though decades have come and gone. The 80s, 90s, 2000s, and now in the new decade, the usual aspirations are still there. Doctor, policeman, soldier, teacher, maybe even dentist and scientist; these occupations still feature strongly in the majority of the kids’ worksheets. And I guess if Matthew is given this activity, he would most likely write that he wants be an eye doctor.

Surprisingly, a few occupations caught my eye, although I have not been in contact with 7 year olds since I was seven myself. (Sorry Sis, I didn’t pay much attention to you when you were seven, as I had already entered the dark, pre-occupied teenage years by then.)

Librarian? This kid must be really passionate about books, and love to read. My kind of kid. Designer, sweet designer and makeup artist? The world of beauty and aesthetics.

It is fascinating, to see how the perceptions of kids in the modern world have remained the same, yet changed at the same time. I wonder what Megan will want to be when she grows up…

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