Stop Asking “What do you want to be when you grow up!”

Stop Asking “What do you want to be when you grow up!”

How often have you asked a child “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Seems harmless enough. And we love their answers! But do we need to stop asking this question and start asking a better one that helps them see they’re a part of a really big plan?

Day dreaming is fun and it’s healthy and every child should be encouraged to do it! And I personally love asking, especially small children, what they want to be when they grow up because you get this delightful little glimpse into their amazing minds and personalities.

Troubling Cultural Trends

But after working with kids for almost 30 years I’ve started observing some growing characteristics that might be concerning. It all really has a lot to do with cultural trends, that I don’t see it changing anytime soon. It’s this whole mindset of “it’s all about me.” This is the day of selfies and self-absorption and self-promotion. It’s in our politicians! Our movie stars! Singers! And so many more. It’s complete self-focus.

And what is the biggest result of it all? There may be more than one answer, but a big problem with self-absorption, besides selfishness, is it produces inner emptiness! People become aimless, and aimless people are lacking true purpose and a cause to live and die for!

This is not to point fingers at any one group, but since the coming of the Millennial Generation, we’ve been more aware of an increase in narcissism and self-focus. Time magazine has called them The Me Me Me Generation. And it needs to be noted that every generation has its own characteristics, both good and bad, and as a Baby Boomer, I will cast no stones since we live in our own glass houses! And I must be fair and say there are some pretty impressive Millennial parents with some pretty impressive kids! So, we can’t paint them all with one big giant paintbrush.

It’s all about me!

But all I know is what I read and observe and let’s face it – today’s trends and cultures drags all of us into a mentality of it’s all about me regardless of generation! So does this have anything to do with this harmless question we ask kids about what they want to be when they grow up? I believe it does. Let me explain.

What really got me to thinking about all this was watching the chaos and rioting and violence going on in the streets of America these past few months. And I don’t want to get into the bigger issues of the racism, and defunding cops, etc. Those are separate conversations. But it really just amazed me how quickly these young people just latched onto the cause of BLM and the LGBTQ movement, and even what Antifa was leading. It was like these young people were a tinder box just ready to be set on fire with a cause! They found a purpose to completely give themselves over to!

Here again, I don’t want to get off into how our educational systems and social media and news have been grooming them in certain ideologies since they were little, and that definitely plays a part.

Designed By God for a Greater Purpose

But the truth is that all people are designed by God to want to have a purpose. They are created with an inner hunger to part of something bigger than themselves. Narcissism and self-absorption can only bring happiness so far—but in the end it’s empty!

Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA said, “Fulfilling your personal destiny and living your dream is not a cause!”

And here’s the greater point I’m wanting to make about kids dreaming about what they want to be when they grow up. If the church and Christianity does not give this generation a greater purpose than themselves, they will find a cause and a purpose outside of Christ.

It’s been a well-known fact in America that with each successive generation there is a greater detachment from Christianity, the church, Christ, and the Bible. For the last three generations researchers have been telling us these are the least churched generations in American history. And finally, today they are truly post-Christian generations.

No Longer a Christian nation

I remember when President Obama came into office and he publicly proclaimed that America is no longer a Christian nation, I cringed through angry gritted teeth! But it was true, and it happened right before our eyes so gradually that we didn’t see the obvious.

And once you remove God and Jesus Christ from the picture, you remove the foundation for inner peace, and a view of man’s role in god’s great big picture—his plan and destiny for all mankind but more importantly the plan and destiny that lets every human being know they were designed for a purpose to give them a future and a hope!

I’ve told people for years that we can either let the world teach our children to save the baby whales, or we can teach them to save souls! The choice is ours! But they will give themselves over to a cause that is greater than themselves

Let’s Flip the Narrative!

So, we can ask our kids what they want to be when they grow up and feed into the narrative of it’s all about me and what I want. Or we can flip the narrative and ask them what they think God wants them to be when they grow up! Because we Christians are big on telling people God has a plan for your life! So why not begin planting that seed in the minds of a child from their earliest days when their imaginations are the most active! That life is not all about them! That they were created for a greater purpose, that they have a destiny and if they follow hard after God, and seek him with all their hearts, and listen every day for the voice of God and obey it, that they will reach that destiny!

Some of them will know from the time they are little what that is. Others will discover it as they grow and explore life! God actually revealed to me when I was a seven year old girl what his plan was for me, but without anyone to help me interpret what I was  seeing and hearing it came out in my thoughts as “When I grow up I’m going to be a lovable little grandma that all the kids in the neighborhood love!” Don’t you think that’s strange? Why didn’t I think that I would be a grandma that all my own kids and grandkids would love? Why the kids in the neighborhood? I didn’t know how to interpret any of it! And it wasn’t’ until I turned 50 years old and started kids in ministry international, which is now established in 12 nations, and we’ve impacted well over 30 nations and counting, that I realized I had become the grandma and the kids in the neighborhood were the children of the world and they loved me!

How did you get here?

But people asked me all the time how it got here. And I honestly have to say I did not know the plan from the beginning. I just woke up every morning and did my best to listen for the voice of God for that day and obey what I heard, and I ended up here! I can look back now and recognize that everything I learned, every skill I acquired, every job I took prepared me for this day. It came out of an inner sense of destiny that I couldn’t explain that came from following the voice of God.

Our kids need to know there is a plan and purpose for them that will give them a supernatural cause that is huge, and much greater than themselves. And as they discover that plan, they will not get distracted with lesser plans that lead them away from God!

Children Want to be Challenged

Children today want to be challenged! This was one of the ultimate discoveries that educators and clinicians made as they had to deal with the most coddled generation in history! While self-focus crippled many in that generation, for others it created a hunger to be challenged. They were tired of getting pointless trophies for doing nothing but showing up!

They no longer wanted to watch the movies on tv. They wanted to be in the movies. They no longer wanted to watch the gymnasts and professional sports players in the Olympics, they wanted to train for the Olympics themselves! And spiritually they were the reality generation that really wanted to know God for themselves, to really hear His voice for themselves, to really feel His presence for themselves, and to see miracles for themselves and to do those great things we’d been telling them all about –you can  do all things through Christ! But then without realizing it, we marginalized them from doing those great things until they grew up – and were no longer interested in the things of God.

Practice Your God-Dream Everyday!

Ask your kids and grandkids what do you think God wants you to be when you grow up? Then tell them to start praying and preparing and planning for it now. Don’t wait! Tell them to practice their God-dream every day!

This generation and every generation will go unsatisfied unless they find the plan and purpose God made them for and it’s only found in a deep relationship with Jesus Christ.

When you ask a child what they think God wants them to be when they grow up it makes them stop and think beyond themselves. It makes them look inside and realize God made them for a purpose. And every time we ask them that question, we need to send them to their little prayer closets to seek his face for an answer.

They need to grow up with the possibility in the back of their mind that today they might want to be a fireman or policeman or school teacher—and that just might be what God made them for because those things can be true callings from God! But they need to stay open to the idea that there might be something greater than what they’ve thought of yet. A cause to live for and even die for!

As one parent said, “YOU CAN BE ANYTHING GOD WANTS YOU TO BE!!!” Another says, “I’m not concerned about my kids finding a career, but my goal is to help them find their calling in life!”

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