Careful what you ask for

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a very common question asked to kids. I was asked that by every adult in my family, extended family and it was often one of first few questions into the chit chat.

But what we chose as a profession, though significant, is not the tell all of our personality, considering how complex humans are. I believe the real question that kids should be asked is “what kind of a person would you like to be when you grow up?”. In my experience, 99.9% of the kids go blank when I ask them that. Mainly because no one has ever asked them that question. When I explain by giving them options like .. would you want to be a famous, well read, kind or charming, reasonable or reckless etc. They can’t seem to make up their mind. Because they are trying to connect it back to the profession question and trying to pick one thing. It often takes a little while before they can pick a couple of things.

So the next time you see that little kid and you are itched to ask him or her this question, make sure you ask in the right context. Because at the end of the day being that famous rich doctor, engineer or mutual fund manager is no accomplishment if there is no kindness, responsibility and care in them.

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