Having spent an undue amount of time working on our upcoming education magazine (due for insertion into the Friday, May 20 Banner Graphic if things go according to plan), I feel I've become something of an expert on what the workforce is going to look like 20 years from now.
The work I did on the "When I Grow Up..." section of the magazine was enlightening as I learned what the class of 2028 (current kindergartners) reported what they want to be when they grow up.
What I can tell you is that we're not going to lack for cops and dolphin trainers a couple of decades from now. Also, plenty of soldiers, vets, teachers and chefs.
But there's more. The section is sprinkled with delightful answers, not only for what kids want to be but for the reasons they give.
The following are some of my favorites:
-- I want to be a gold miner and a crystal miner because gold is very valuable and the same thing about crystals. The bad thing is that you might get killed because the mine might collapse.
-- I'd like to be a doctor, maybe a missionary doctor, so I can help people all around the world. Sometimes kids get sick and don't have enough money to buy medicine.
-- I want to be a military police officer or a super hero so I can get the bad guys because that's kind of my thing.
-- I want to be a zookeeper. I would love to pet the zebras.
-- I want to be a singer. I want people to come to my outside concerts. I will sing cool kids songs.
-- I want to be a pig farmer because I like pigs.
-- I want to be a doctor because it is fun at the doctor's office.
-- I want to be an artist when I grow up. I like to paint and would paint pictures of cats.
-- I want to be a fixer up man who goes around and fixes people's houses.
-- I want to be a bus driver because I think it would be fun. I want to drive and push all those buttons that are right beside her.
-- I want to be a paramedic because I want to deliver babies and I want to see their faces.
-- I want to be like Nunzio because I want to have a restaurant.
-- I want to be Santa so I can deliver presents.
-- I want to be a space cop because it would be cool to be a cop on the moon
-- I want to be a dinosaur picker upper because I can help dinosaurs in the world.
-- I want to be a snake catcher. Because you're supposed to step on their tail and step on their head.
-- I want to be a teacher and rock star. Because I like to sing and teachers help people learn math.
And the best answer of the year:
-- I want to be Darth Vader.
The notion I came away with is this: Kids are awesome.
They look up to the people around them. Moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas and teachers are all cited as inspirations for their career choices.
Overwhelmingly, they seem to want to be teachers or doctors or nurses or emergency responders.
They want to help people. Many of us seem to lose that somewhere between the age of 5 and 25. It goes from helping people to helping ourselves.
I hope all of the parents of the class of 2028 hold on to these sections and show them to their kids as they're ready to graduate. Never hurts to get a reminder of the awesome, little person you used to be.
As for this parent of a kindergartner, I couldn't be happier with Miles' response. For months, he said he wanted to be a ninja scientist. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what a ninja scientist was.
However, with his publication, his response has changed slightly:
-- I want to be a spy so that I can make sure people are doing the right thing all over the world.
If there's a real-world version of ninja scientist, I'd say it's a spy.
One problem is that my kid's not great at keeping secrets. He got some good advice from a family friend recently, telling him if he wants to be a spy, then the first rule is to stop telling people he wants to be a spy.
I hope he can follow it because I'm already preparing his CIA application.