In Saturday's Daily News, we'll have our yearly When I Grow Up section in which we ask kindergartners from Estherville Lincoln Central, North Union, Graettinger-Terril and Spirit Lake what they want to be when they grow up.
Yeah, it's cute. Cuter than cute, it's downright charming.
But should we take it more seriously than that?
When a child says he wants to be a police officer or she says she wants to be a doctor, how do we respond. Is it with laughter, glee, remarks like, "Oh, that's cute. But when you're old enough to really know what you want to do . . . "
Or do we sit there and look into their little eyes and listen. "So. You want to be a doctor. Let's see if we can find you a book about that and read more about it."
When a child shows a small flame of curiosity, we shouldn't throw a bucket of water on it.
It should be a bucket of gas.
We should encourage them in their goals, their pursuits and dreams. And we should do everything in our power to show them the path toward achieving those goals and dreams.
It wasn't that many years ago, maybe only a couple generations, that girls would have never said they wanted to become a doctor. Girls didn't become doctors back then. Boys did. Girls became nurses. And the same for police officers. And lawyers.
Fortunately, that's all changed. Gender barriers have come crashing down. If a boy wants to become a professional dancer, he can. And if a girl wants to become a scientist, she can do that too.
Gender is no longer a roadblock and neither is one's socioeconomic status.
So let's encourage those young dreams, no matter how wild or silly they might seem.
Because when we no longer dream, we no longer have anything for which we can reach.