This is such an enormous question, it is as overwhelming today as it was when I was 10. The answer to this seems no more obvious now, then back then. It feels peculiar that we start asking our little people so early on in their life, what job they will do when they grow up.
Do you do the job that you aspired to do at that age?
When I was 10 years old, I remember writing I wanted to be a lawyer and as a bright Indian child, it was one of the options my folks offered as a suggestion. Being a lawyer, trumped being a pharmacist and was indeed the best out of an otherwise boring list.
Looking back, I realised that there was no real exposure to the array of jobs on offer and I was reliant on my folks for guidance. Education was seen as a gateway from the hardships that they had endured and they encouraged us to work hard.
At this point, I should confirm, I did not join the legal profession or become a pharmacist. The actual thought of wearing a white overall filled me with horror.
This reminiscing, coupled with finding myself reading Architecture Matters by Aaron Betsky in the launderette on a Sunday afternoon, led to me realising, that what I have always liked is houses. Aaron talks about how he had a fascination with buildings and architecture from a young age. It occurred me, that so did I.
I was always drawn to the odd house in the street, the one that looked like it should be on a different street. I have vivid memories of all of the places that we have lived, I often dream about them still and always have an urge to visit them again. I become emotionally attached to buildings and feel a loss when they are no longer there. The most recent being the Ziggurat that was torn down in Birmingham, only to be replaced with faceless new buildings, that will never have any soul about them.
This has led me to think about my own pathway and to think about how to encourage my own daughter to be inquisitive about her environment or to ensure that she is aware that there are not limited opportunities in life.
Something that has recently hindered this, is the consumption of the 11 Plus exam.
It seems that we have recently been tunnel visioned on focusing on the 11 Plus and swept along with the madness that if she fails this test at the age of 10, she will fail in life. A ridiculous notion, but one that I see too many people fixated on and have programmed their children to pass this milestone test.
Whilst we have actively avoided trying to stress out our 10 year old and have downplayed the importance of the test, it has taken an almighty amount of effort and I think I may have slightly failed.
I wonder how many of us have considered what we are teaching our children along this journey? The majority of us come from a position where we are exposing them to a wide range of activities/experiences and then we revert back to the archaic practice of driving them to pass exams.
I am not quite sure of where I am going with this, but what I do know is that the key life milestones for my daughter should not be inextricably linked to a pass or fail.
I understand the importance of gaining an excellent education and driving our children to succeed in life, but for me, my daughter can literally be whatever she likes and she wont have any resistance from us.
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