“I’m going to be a basketball player.” “I’m going to be a princess.” “I’m going to be president.”
Young children see unlimited possibilities. Their thinking is magical, and they believe they’ll accomplish whatever they desire. All children, when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” give an answer based on their immediate interests and experience.
Kids don’t think the way an adult does. They can’t put themselves in the place of someone who’s worked hard to accomplish a goal. They don’t think about obstacles, expenses, time, or limited abilities. Instead, they have an innocent optimism that leads to dramatic conclusions. “When I grow up, I’m going to be a star!”
When your child tells what he’s going to be when he grows up, don’t feel you have to set him straight. Respect your child’s confident statements, and try to learn more about his interests and thinking. If he says he’s going to be a spaceman, ask, “What will you do in space?” One five-year-old said he was going to build a “Kids’ World Park” when he grows up so “kids can play all the time.”
Childhood is short. Through the years, your child will discover his own limitations and learn how the world really works. His innocence will gradually fade as he comes to terms with life’s realities. You do him no harm by encouraging him, taking an interest in what he says, and listening to his big dreams.