Balanced Melting Pot

What do you want [your child] to be when you grow up?

In Culture, Parenting, Questions on September 29, 2008 at 9:48 am

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have some ideas as to what we would like our children to be when they grow up. Some of us secretly rejoice when we hear them say “I want to be a doctor”, even though at that point they are usually too young to understand how many science classes or how many years of school that will require. Hoping your child chooses a specific profession may be a universal trait of parenting, but the preference of careers can definitely be tied to culture.

In the Haitian culture, I came to realize that the expectation for many parents was for their children to become one of three professions: doctor, lawyer or engineer. Everything else fell under “other”. In a way, it was good to set the bar high, but on the other hand it gave children a limited view of which careers they could aspire to pursue.

Of course as you get older, you learn that a medical doctor is not the only profession where you can help people and that becoming a lawyer or engineer does not guarantee a high salary. The downside to discovering these other options is that you always have the thought in the back of your mind that you are not going to make your family proud.

So, have you been able to completely abandon your idea of what would be a successful career for your child(ren)? Or, do you gently/strongly veer them towards certain fields? Do you have a certain career path that you would like your child to take? If so, do you think your culture has influence over your preferences?

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