by Margaret Evans, Director of Lifespan Learning

Have you ever asked a child what they want to be when they grow up? Many adolescents answer with a career: a teacher, doctor or lawyer. Even from small children, we get answers that show an association between who they are and what they will do.

Once in a while you will hear answers like “When I grow up, I want to be just like my mom, or dad or grandparent”. These are the answers worth pursuing. Instead of teaching our children to answer the question of what they want to be with a career, what if we taught them to answer with the kind of person they want to become; a kind, gentle, compassionate, loyal person? What if these were the answers we supported rather than the kind of job they will have?

Around the dinner table, ask this question and listen to the responses. Use open questions such as, “If you could become like anyone in the world, who would it be?” Ask them why this person has affected them and how they would use these traits in the world.

Our characters have been formed by those who taught us, and will help shape our children and the people they will become. What character traits do you want your child, niece, nephew, grandchild, or friend to possess?