My son is practicing for his graduation. There are some songs and a skit that his class is doing, and part of the skit features the children saying what they want to be when they grow up. This is particularly funny to me, as my son changes his mind constantly:
Monday: When I grow up, I want to be a scientist.
Tuesday: When I grow up, I want to be one of Mommy's coworkers (awwww!)
Wednesday: When I grow up, I want to be a race car driver.
Thursday: When I grow up, I want to be a space explorer.
Friday: When I grow up, I want to be a policeman.
I wonder how the practice in other households is going - if other children are giving different answers every few days or if they have settled on their go-to answer (at least for the purposes of the skit). And after reading this study by the Institute of Engineering and Technology, I wonder how those conversations are going for households with little girls. According to that study, parents are not encouraging their daughters to pursue careers in engineering, despite an uptick in girls' preferences for science, technology, engineering and math subjects in school. Instead, parents have reported that their daughters will probably pursue careers in education, healthcare or the arts.
My husband and I have really enjoyed adding a bit more science, math and computing skills into our son's daily life. And he has already astounded us with that little nudge. (Watching him write addition problems on the bathtub walls with his bath crayons is both adorable and wonderful.) But the more I've thought about my son's list of professions, the more I've realized that I know very little about what a career in engineering looks like. So, that is something to add to my list of things we need to explore together. I'd like to learn how to pique his interest in that, too. (And does it involve Legos? My son is very into Legos...)
All this nudging on our side isn't intended to be pressure. Our job is to just expose our son to lots of different areas of the world and let him try something new. In the meantime, as he practices for his graduation ceremony, I've reminded him that he doesn't have to pick a career now - there is plenty of time for him to decide. For now, he just has to remember that he'll always be my son - even when he is all grown up.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Tell me in the comments.