Podcast Episode 207: A Better Question to Ask Than ‘What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?’

Thanks so much for coming by to check out Episode 207 of The New Family Podcast, where we explore a better way to talk to kids about their futures.

Everyone asks kids, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But what if that’s the wrong question? My guest for this episode, Dr. Rumeet Billan — an award-winning entrepreneur, learning architect and humanitarian — has an insightful way of looking at this topic.

Given career anxiety is on the rise — and that anxiety disorders are now the most common illness to affect children and youth — she says we should instead be asking kids not whether they plan to be a doctor or millionaire athlete, but who they wish to become. In fact, Who Do I Want to Become is the title of Rumeet’s new picture book for both kids and adults.

She offers some great guidance for parents on how we can emphasize the values and life skills that will serve our kids well in a future where jobs may look different than they do today.

Here are some resources related to this episode:

Who Do I Want To Become?

Rumeet Billan’s official website

Rumeet’s LinkedIn profile

Related Episode: Dad of 8 on Raising Kids Who Have a Sense of Purpose

Related Episode: The ‘4Cs’ Kids Need to Thrive in the Future

Related Episode: Are Schools Failing Our Kids? This Mom Whose Daughter Dropped Out Thinks So

Related Episode: 40 Things I Wish I’d Told My Kids

What Rumeet would like parents to know

“I think for parents, we don’t know what the future is going to hold. So to have that expectation that our children should know what they want to be, we need to let that go a little bit. I mean there’s nothing wrong with asking that question; it’s when we associate expectations with it where it starts to become a bit of a problem. There’s nothing wrong with the child knowing exactly what they want to be when they grow up; it’s just making sure we don’t limit their possibilities just because they’ve been exposed to only one or two professions. I think it starts with understanding that we ourselves don’t know what the future is going to hold, but then also that we can help to open the door to so many different possibilities simply by shifting our dialogue.”

Sponsor Thanks!

Special thanks to our sponsor, Wise Bites — makers of delicious, allergy-safe snacks, including an amazing array of treats for the holidays — for helping us make the show entirely free to you.

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Brandie Weikle

About Brandie Weikle

Brandie is a long-time parenting editor, writer and spokesperson. Most recently editor-in-chief of Canadian Family magazine, Brandie has also been the parenting and relationships editor for the Toronto Star, founding editor of two Toronto Star websites, and an editor for Today's Parent. Brandie is a single mother of two in Toronto and a frequent television and radio guest on parenting topics. A former digital director at House & Home Media, she also consults on digital audience engagement. Contact her here. View all posts by


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