Should kids still aspire to traditional goals?
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Our parents wanted us to do as well as they did - go to university, get a steady job, put down a payment on a property and find that special someone to settle down with. Along the way, life changed; or maybe we changed it. Soon most people went to university, house prices shot up and marriage rates went down. We can no longer encourage our kids to aspire to traditional goals unless its something they want themselves.
My 11-year-old daughter wants to be a writer. She's showing promise, but I worry she needs to set her career sights on a profession with a higher success rate. Do I really want her to be an accountant or work in marketing? No offence to readers in either profession, but I have written for a living and although it was never a stable gig, it was some of the most enjoyable work of my career. But if your son or daughter already knows that they want to grow up to be a lawyer and marry their childhood sweetheart then who are we as parents to stop them?
On the other hand, in the current economic climate it might make sense to encourage our kids to follow their dreams a little and try something different. They might get a little more encouragement than the child who wants to work on offshore windfarms, simply because that job, like many others, didn't exist 10 years ago.
Kids can aspire to traditional goals if they want, but they shouldn't feel they have to, any more than should feel they have to use traditional methods of communication or forms of transport. They should use them only if they still make sense.
We can't enforce our aspirations on our children, but we have a duty to give them the facts without dashing their hopes. And if you can figure out how to do that, please leave a comment on this answer, because we'd all love to know.
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I guess it depends on your definition of "traditional goals." In my view, "traditional goals" are to find your passion, figure out how to get there, and make a difference in the world around you – if that's what the question is talking about, then absolutely, I think kids should aspire to traditional goals!
"How" they get there, however, will be very different than how we did; there is so much "new" in our society and our world, and our kids are poised to be able to integrate it into achieving their dreams. I think it can be hard for many adults to understand how this will work – so many of us are too far removed from the new approaches to be able to take advantage of them. When I look at some of the ways young people are making their way, I'm astounded (usually in a good way).