How my 6-year-old went from wanting to be a doctor to make burgers? Pretty simple. Just let me tell you what happened this week.
Our little girl is fascinated with babies, pregnancy and all that has to do with giving birth. Since she was very little she’s always wanted to be “the doctor that helps mummies have babies”. Which I think is probably one of the most challenging yet rewarding careers you could ever choose. Yet this week, as we were driving back from her taekwondo lesson we were talking about school and why she didn’t like it. She told me she doesn’t want to go anymore so I replied -How are you going to become a doctor then? to which she just answered – I don’t want to be a doctor anymore! -Why?- I asked -what do you want to do then when you grow up? -Nothing!- she said – I don’t want to do anything!. I told her -you cannot be without doing anything when you get older, you need to do something. She said -Burgers!, I want to make burgers-
Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong in making burgers! working in a fast-food chain is as honourable as any other job. Her daddy was working in Burger King not too long ago, and it’s not what he studied for, but there you go.
My point is what made my daughter changed her mind? Why didn’t she want to pursue her dreams anymore? Why was she so frustrated with school and learning in general? Well, I believe that children need to learn and that what they learn in school is important. But I wonder, with new guidelines sent from the UK government to schools about “raising the bar”, expecting the children to know this and that, to be good at this and that, to have such level of whatever, and all of this from the young age of 4 or 5 years old, are they really helping the children? I would expect the frustration my 6-year-old goes through, I don’t know, maybe when she starts her teen years? around 12,13 years old, when exams seem more serious, they go through various physical and mental changes? BUT my little girl crying in class because she couldn’t understand and didn’t get to do well one of the exercises? That is JUST not right. And this is not a complaint about the school she attends too. I know teachers there have the approach of “it’s ok to make mistakes” “what matters is how much effort you put into”. My complaint is against those who are “raising the bar” to the point that our young children get to stress levels that are not meant to happen.
Isn’t Finland that actually doesn’t teach their children to read until they turn 7 years old or something like that? And they are considered to have one of the best educations in the world. Then you have here in the UK a lot of the young people suffering from depression and other mental health issues.
So basically, for our little princess, everything seems difficult at the moment. It is true every stage in life has its own challenges. But aren’t our childhood memories one of the sweetest ones? Aren’t they supposed to be one of the happiest? Why then we put our children under so much pressure to the point where we take what’s more precious from them? their infancy, their innocence, their hope that things will work out well ALWAYS, their dreams of being a doctor, an astronaut, a fast-food team member if that’s what they want! Why do we build all these walls they need to climb day after day? And yes, it is alright if they fall. They just need to get up again. BUT, why there was a wall in the very first place?
There’s only one thing my husband and I can do at the moment, and that is not moving to Finland. (not, for now, we’ll see after Brexit… lol) The only thing we can do is to support our children. To keep encouraging them that they can do things, they can achieve things in life. Working hard will bring the results, as long as we don’t forget to play hard too.