I’m sure that each and everyone of us has been asked this question. I will be glad if you will share with me the answers the little star in you gave and what you are actually doing now in the comment session below.
Apparently, I don’t know what my first answer was. I won’t be surprised if a video is played for me to see my past and you hear me mentioning doctor or a journalist because everyone else was saying those things. If there’s something I remember, it’s my poor academic performance in lower primary. My parents sent me to a boarding school when I was six years. They were expecting something good from me but whenever I went home with my terminal report card, it’s either “talkative or more room for improvement” written at the teacher’s remarks. I guess if I had any aspirations it was one as simple as ABCD. In the final term of primary 3, only those with good handwriting would be allowed to migrate from writing with pencil to pen. That was the beginning of the studios me. In Primary 4, I had the opportunity to represent my school in a quiz competition with Regina, then received accolades from “more room for improvement to excellent or keep it up.”
Then when the little me finally decided to pursue law, the first comment I had was: A lawyer? you want to become a liar? Then followed the next, when you die you will be buried with your face down because even your corpse will be embarrassed to face all the lies you told. I dropped the idea, I guess I didn’t fall to the ground because I feel it hanging within. Then I thought of becoming a meteorologist. I still remember where I was standing at Star of the Sea premises( my junior high school). My interviewer then asked me of my choice of career. Before the word me-teo-ro-logist could fully come out he asked me if I wanted to become a pauper? Well I didn’t know meteorologist was synonymous to pauper.
I remember a friend who said she wanted to be an astronaut and she got her favourite taunts and jeers . She was actually called “chorkor astronaut.” Now she is in the United States chasing her dreams.
For me, I got admission to the University of Ghana, Legon to read Sociology, Geography and Chinese. I did not hesitate to exhibit my ignorance. I cried for a week and refused to even talk to anyone. I felt I deserved a “better” course. I had no idea where my future career was heading. Today I hold a first class degree in Sociology and Chinese. I am not done, I have just started. There’s a whole lot of things to be done.
Just like Michelle Obama once said “now I think it’s one of the most useless question an adult can ask a child- what do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end. So far in my life I’ve been a lawyer. I have been a vice president at a hospital and the director of a non-profit venture that helps young people build meaningful careers and until recently I was the first lady of the United States of America.” This was a little girl who once said she wanted to become a Paediatrician.” Excerpts from ‘Becoming,’ by Michelle Obama.
Today schools have “Career Day” celebration. A total assurance of hope neglecting the reality of life which the future holds. Some schools go to the extent of prescribing which professional attire each student should wear. Parents are always on the run for military uniforms, flight attendant uniforms, doctors coats etc… Some parents even insist on what their kids should study. Like my friend Kingsford, whose father forcefully changed his destiny to study business when he was naturally talented to pursue Visual Arts. But, thank God he has bounced back to the path His creator placed him on. They say “we are a family of doctors, we are a family of Lawyers”. Seriously, is this benchmark worth necessary? I don’t know why they get disappointed when their kids fail abysmally. Just today the chief justice said she would do everything possible to prevent mass production of lawyers just as it’s done for doctors and surgeons. See the kind of hurdles people have designed for your children. I believe you can recall passion of one’s mind against tradition of the family. Some succeed and yet find no happiness in their jobs. You see a nurse maltreating a patient, a teacher frustrating students. You ask yourself if they deserve to be called humans because even though they are human beings, they are not being human.
Dear parents and teachers why don’t you allow the kids to represent their own ambitions? Can’t you nurse and guide them? Should it always be the autocratic “your way” kind of thing? Why don’t you wait for the next academic year for those who change their occupations and get to understand the reasons for their change? Humans have a greater purpose in life and career shouldn’t be what defines us as humans. You introduce your boyfriend and the first question becomes what does he do for a living? Why attach so much importance to some occupations and degrade others?
Many youths shy away from agriculture because weeding was a form of punishment during their school days. Why won’t that young man hesitate to farm when he’s afraid his girlfriend would rather marry a man with a white collar job? Learning is difficult but it’s more difficult to unlearn something you were taught. Create an enabling environment and allow the children to dream as big as the oceans. These little tulips will blossom with the right nutrients.
Life is too short to be making life boring for children. Remember they will grow and you won’t be there. Try changing anything in their lives against their heart and boom, you kill them already. Instead of imposing on them why not propose to them a variety of ideas and guide them on their choices. Instead of the ‘what do u want to be?’ why not ask what can you do, or which problem can you solve? That way you’ll get a wide range of questions and answers then you can build them up from there.
What do you want to be in future? is a silent killer of dreams , especially when you’re not God to tell tomorrow.