What Do You Wanna Be When You Grow Up?

That was the question I asked 25 Grade 2 students this morning. And I got a gamut of answers, “A businessman, a lawyer, a nurse, a doctor, a spy like my mom (hmmm okay), an opera singer (yes I laughed too), a celebrity (what career is that exactly?), a baseball player, a hockey player, go into my daddy’s business, a JUGGLER.” OK great answers! Yes, I just left my son’s school for “Parents as Teachers Day.” I volunteered for this once-a-year day last year, and I was excited to return again this year.

The minute I walked into the class, I saw my son’s face. The smile was ear to ear. If he coulda crawled back into the womb, believe me, he would have. Of course he was totally misbehaving and showing off in front of his friends. Up and down, talking out of turn, chatting non-stop. But I let it go because 9/10 times, he’s such a rule follower and an absolute joy. My little son on the other hand, we may have to teach about condom use at 10 years old, but that’s a whole other ball of wax.

Anyhow, after I listened to the kids’ answers of what they wanted to be when they grow up, I put two words on the Smart Board – ENTREPRENEUR and KIDPRENEUR. A few actually knew the word: my son obviously knew the word… he’s lived with an entrepreneur since he’s born, so he understands. But most kids didn’t. When I read the definition of ‘entrepreneur’ (from a kid’s book I will tell you about soon), things like: you are your own boss, you set your own hours, you make your own money and generally, if you want more money, you have to work harder. You don’t have to ask anyone when you want to go on vacation. You make the rules. You have to work as hard as all the people who work for you and then harder. You have to know ALL the jobs in your company, etc… You could have heard a pin drop. They were interested.

What was so cool, was then seeing the sparkle in their eyes. Their brains working. A life of possibility. A future still undetermined, with boundless opportunity. This notion that their whole life still lies ahead of them, and they can pick and choose how they want to live it. And it made me realize that some people I know my own age, or even older, still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. It made me think of the many people working jobs they hate. Living a life of rut and routine because there are bills to pay and mouths to feed. But that’s life. That’s reality. And it’s tough in adulthood to just press the reset button and get a “redo.” That is what was so pure and exciting to teach these children about the future. And about the now. That it’s never too early to plan… to plan what you want to be, to save your money, to get organized.

As you know, WomenOnTheFence.com is not a Blog with product reviews and endorsements. It wasn’t my vision when I started a year ago. But today I’m going to encourage all of you moms and grandmothers, aunts and sisters, to get the book KIDPRENEURS for the kids in your life. The writers of this book sent me a copy for my kids, as they know that I am an entrepreneur and felt I would appreciate it. As a blogger, I get sent stuff all the time, explaining each and every time, I DON’T DO REVIEWS. But the reason why I chose to Blog about this one, is because YOUR CHILDREN ARE THE FUTURE. MY CHILDREN ARE THE FUTURE. Why not teach them all the possibilities and avenues, at an age where they are discovering the world around them. Hey, no one ever died of hard of hard work!! I like getting my kids thinking outside the box, and I hope you will encourage yours to as well. Are they too young to start their own business now? Obviously! But as I pointed out to the Grade 2 class, even making a lemonade stand is entrepreneurial. You  have to make good tasty lemonade, sell it at the right price, find customers, understand the costs involved, set a selling price, and decide what you’re going to do with your profits (in our lemonade stands, the boys get to keep $1.00-2.00 each, and the rest put in their bank account, or give to charity). Selling chocolate bars is very entrepreneurial as well. If you’re looking at me like I’m crazy, that’s okay. I simply wanted to point out to you mommies, a different approach. Our kids are never too young to start.

I don’t think we need to shelter them as much as we were sheltered. I think we should expose our kids and then let them make their own choices. My boys know all the swear words, but they don’t use them. They know about where babies come from. They know about death. Not every intricate detail, but if they ask, I answer. Every time. It’s just the way I am. To me, knowledge is power, not danger, if handled with kit gloves.

So, after the 25 Grade 2 students finished their business plans (I gave them handouts from the book), and I told them they can bring their plans home and work on them with their family, I told them one last simple thing before I left:

You can be ANYTHING you want to be if you set your mind to it, and work hard.

And for you, the adults, who maybe also still haven’t figured out what you want to be when you grow up:

You can be ANYTHING you want to be if you set your mind to it, and work hard.

It’s never too late.

What do you think??

xoxEDxox

Have a great weekend ladies, and enjoy this quote…

14 Comments
  1. Great post and I agree that we musn’t shelter our kids. we owe it to them to always tell them the truth. Sounds like you had a great morning.
    Gillian

    1. Truth with a filter yes. But always the truth. We owe it to our children to show them the way. Not have them get there and not have the tools to know what to do and how to respond to situations.

  2. I went back to school last year to become a nurse. It was the best decision I ever made. It is never to late even as adults to discover “what we want to be when we grow up.” Thank you for this inspiring post.

  3. Great post. I agree with you that sheltering our children too much is not the way to go. I also answer every question my daughter asks (albeit with a filter) but I agree that knowledge is power for sure.

  4. WOW! Very nicely said! I couldn’t agree with you more. I have already bought the book for my kids a while back and they absolutely loved it! They both have plans for their ‘biz ventures’ this summer.
    I have been following the success of KIDPRENEURS since I bought the book and it looks like they have a LIVE SHOW that will be touring the Elementary Schools across North America:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/116702951/kidpreneurs-live-its-never-too-early

    I hope they visit my kids school!

    PS. Loved your quote at the end of the article.

    -JEN

  5. I loved this article. First of all, I’m going through such a life change right now, deciding whether/how I can go it on my own. And two years ago, my husband did make that choice, and became an entrepreneur. You are right. You can be whoever and whatever you want, if you make that choice, set your path, and design your destiny. As an aside, my kids also know all the swear words but don’t use them. I believe in raising them with candor and reality, dosed with love and support.

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