Ask a five-year old, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ and you’ll likely get a quick and sure reply. Ask a twenty-five year old the same question, and you are likely to encounter a tale of woe, confusion and frustration. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle.
So, what do you want to be when you grow up? In the ancient world, few in any grappled with this question. If your father was a farmer, you knew you were going to be a farmer. If he was a soldier, then that’s what you would be. Little of our modern-day angst as we struggle to find out what we were created to do… Back then, by age 15, you not only knew what you would be when you grew up, but you were already grown up and being it. No wonder Alexander the Great had conquered most of the known world by the time he was 31!
Rather than help children discover their strengths early and then connect these strengths to their family destiny, modern education keeps ‘kids’ in school for years (some way beyond their 30th birthday) only to eject them clueless at the end of the process into the world, without an inkling of what they are meant to be or do. Things are no better on the family front, where the parenting of the next generation has been outsourced by busy professional parents to maids, schools and TV. The result? Highly-educated, self-engrossed people who can’t solve basic real-life national problems, like food and water stability for the urban & rural poor…
The tragedy is that we have come to see this as ‘normal’! It’s all well for us to keep talking about creating 800,000 jobs and vision 3030. But unless we’re brave enough to rethink our education and parenting paradigms, I suspect we’re merely dealing with the symptoms.
So… what do you want to be when you grow up?