"I want to be an Astronaut." "I want to be a Ballerina." "I want to be a Fire Rescuer." Wrong! It seems as if the traditional aspirations of young children have been changing. "What do you want to be when you grow up?" was always the go-to question you asked the youngest child.
We know that at any given moment, you will see a preschooler put on a fire hat, don a cape, or dance around a room in a tutu; sometimes wearing all three at once. They still do that, but things have changed, and the exposure to 21st-century playthings are beginning to shape children aspirations into different directions.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that today's children are exposed to an onslaught of digital devices and all the excitement that comes along with them, especially games and video. It's like watching a movie, but you are part of the action. Using your skills to twitch, tap, and slide along side your favorite characters; now that's compelling. Creating short videos are second nature and the subject is open ended. Self-publishing on social media is way to easy.
Recently, The Sun reported on research recently completed by First Choice with kids six to 17. A few answered the aspiration question with typical careers as a teacher or doctor, but by far, the most desired career was to be a YouTuber. What does that even mean! How do you respond to a child that wants that as a career? How do you even begin to prepare them for that at a young age?
The research goes on to report that kids desire careers that offer creativity, fame, and self-expression. Now that's something we can help with. Nothing wrong with a creative job that pays well, eh. But wait, they go on to say that the kids aren't motivated by money! Well, perhaps a bit naive, but the glory of fame still rises above all.
It's not that the traditional study of math and English aren't necessary; but we might want to think about how those subject are inter-connected with video and media creation. Are we meeting them where their passions are? Even at the earliest age, we should be able to provide toys, products, and experiences that help them build on this creativity. We know the more creative a child becomes, the more they search for new ideas. We need our children to have that lust for solving problems, thinking differently, and leading the world with new solutions. Our educational system mustn't be devoid of creative opportunity learning. Let's keep the arts in the curriculum and maybe offer glasses in media and game production along side those basic skills. It always comes back to helping make the future available to those that think!
So, don that tutti with your fire helmet. Then create a new super-hero video!