By the time we’re adults, the lesson most of us have learned is that not one human is like another. No matter how hard we try and squeeze each other into descriptive pegboards, each one of us has quirks and anomalies that make us special. And yet we try to keep our children tidily defined. We’re conditioned into asking these three questions as if the answers help to place our kids on some kind of shelf:
What’s your favourite colour?
This is an easy question. Only it isn’t. Perhaps it helps younger kids to get used to naming different colours, but it also creates confusion. Today I like green, yesterday I liked pale blue and tomorrow I may like purple. Many retailers (and parents) still try to stack girls on the pink shelf, and brown is still the most abandoned crayon in the box. I know we have an obligation to teach our kids that the sky is blue and grass is green, but maybe we should be teaching them to experience colour
and share why they like the colour of a stormy sea or a fresh lemon.What food do you most like to eat?
Once your kids have passed the point where they simply have to eat what’s put in front of them, they quite enjoy being in on planning mealtimes. But this coincides with the age they get into bargaining
, even with themselves. “Hmm, I most like to eats sweets, obviously, but I know the big person is looking for a different answer, so I’ll suggest “macaroni” and say that it’s because I LOVE the way they cook it, and then also add, with puppy-dog eyes, “If I finish, can I have some pudding?””. Professional negotiators. Add a sibling into this conversation, and you’ll never ever all be happy at the table again.
We do try and ask this question for special birthday suppers, but otherwise we stick to “this is what we’re having, it took time to prepare and so do your best.”What do you want to be when you grow up?
If children had more sense, they’d answer some of your questions with, “Hey, man, I’m six. What the heck did you expect me to say?” Asking your young child what they want to be as an adult is hardly ever going to result in a prophetic answer. Their world is one of fairies and dragons, heroes and villains. A world where adventure takes precedence over responsibility, and that’s exactly how it should be.
So don’t be dismayed if your child replies with the right amount of make-believe. The cutest/creepiest thing in the world is when one of your kids says, “Well, I’ll be married to you.”
Also, most of us parents don’t even know what we want to be when we grow up…What’s the funniest answer your child has ever had when asked what they’d like to be when they are big? Send us an email to email@example.com and you could win a R250 kalahari.com voucher.