Grandmother: Isn’t this fun having lunch together?
Grandmother: How is school going?
Billy: It’s okay.
Grandmother: Well, what’s your favorite subject?
Grandmother: That’s an interesting subject. I didn’t like science when I was in school. Who is your best friend?
Grandmother: Is Todd in your science class?
Grandmother: How do you know him?
Billy: He lives next door.
Grandmother: Oh. Okay. Hey Billy, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Billy: I already am Grandma. I am Billy.
In one well-meaning interaction we tell a child importance is tied to what a person does. The pressure is on to “Do”. Yet the highest form of affirmation is to “Be.” The question doesn’t sound like a big deal, but we have built our culture on it.
We have built self-esteem, recognition, and success into the question, “What do you want to be?” It implies a bar to hit, a value to the bar, and subliminally, that not meeting the bar means failure.
Questions: What are you trying to do? Have you intertwined the concepts of “do” and “be”? What might be the new question?