Like a stone into water, the ripple effect of our actions can make big waves. And that’s an important concept to teach our children as they explore career opportunities or even just how to be an active citizen in their community.
From an early age kids start telling their parents what they want to be when they grow up. But what if instead of asking our kids this questions, we ask them what changes they want to see in the world? What if we ask them about their deepest hopes for the world and from that we help guide them towards tangible ways to make those dreams turn into realities?
This year, I am proud to be sponsored by Doodle for Google to share this important message as a part of the Mom It Forward Network because they are asking kids ages 5-18 to think through the question “When I grow up, I hope…”
5 questions to ask a child of any age to help them make a difference
As a part of the prompt, I elaborated on this with my 6 year old. I asked her to think of the word and split it up into “G-OO-G-L-E”. This meant she could do 5 small drawings to help her more thoroughly think through what she hopes for in the future. And this can apply to all ages up to 18. Learn more about how to enter here.
“What do you see in the world that makes you sad, how would you start to make changes?”
Of course for older kids, it could be rephrased along the lines of “what burdens your heart and how would you begin to try to help?” but the message remains the same: look around you. The world is not perfect but your place in it could help if only you try.
There are some things parents can’t just *snap* and make better. SO it’s important to have a discussion, especially with younger kids about how as a family you try to keep each child safe and make wise decisions, but that in the world there are still obstacles to overcome.
“Who do you see working to make changes right now?”
This can help our kids identify a role model, a path to follow, or even the gaps that this person isn’t addressing to be able to more holistically approach the problem and the solution.
“How do you think you can make a tangible impact in the world?”
Taking from the first question, let’s then ask our children their next steps. What can they do that will make both big and small differences in the community, state, nation, and world? And what can make that mission seen, heard, or felt?
So moving from how they would start, we can encourage them to think about what comes next.
For instance, kids that are passionate about teaching others about eating healthy can move from educating the individuals around them to maybe staring a community garden or something along those lines to continue to grow their cause and allow people to have access to fresh, healthy meals.
“What small steps can you make today to be able to make bigger steps towards change tomorrow?”
And again, let’s take it a step further.
It’s important for our kids to have a plan of action and to know that they’re not passive bystanders in the world they live.
Whether very young or about to enter college, we can help our kids see that the life they choose to live whether as a career path or as regular community service projects can make a positive difference.
“When I grow up, I hope…”
What’s the very end goal?
Let’s help our kids see what could happen and how their plans can make small steps towards really big change!
This last question is the prompt for this year’s Doodle for Google open to students in grades K-12. Submissions are due by March 18, 2019.
There will be a winner representing each US State/Territory, one of which will go on to win a $30,000 college scholarship, $50,000 technology package for their school or the non-profit of their choice, and their Doodle featured on the Google.com homepage for a day. Enter Here.
How this can also help kids choose a career path
While it’s not ultimately the choice I made for my life, at one point in high school my dream was to help all people access clean drinking water. To achieve this I was going to get my degree in engineering and then go to law school for international law in order to build water wells throughout the world.
If we continue to ask our kids their hopes for the world and not just a self-centered approach to what they want to be, we can guide them in making small decisions towards a bigger goal and career path!
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Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!