This week marks the 50th anniversary of American astronaut Neil Armstrong becoming the first person to ever set foot on the moon. It was “one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind” and the world watched in awe.
From that moment on, children all over the world learned that they could do anything they wanted if they set their minds to it. They could reach for the stars - literally.
Nowadays, children seem less interested in changing the world and more interested in showing their own world to others.
To celebrate the anniversary of Apollo 11’s most memorable mission, LEGO conducted a survey where they asked 3,000 children between the ages of 8 and 12, located across the US, the UK, and China, questions related to space, and one of the questions that was asked was, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
According to the survey results, “About 3 in 10 American and British children replied that they wanted to be YouTubers or Vloggers—careers making videos on the Internet for fame and fortune. Lesser preferences included becoming a teacher, professional athlete, or musician. Becoming an astronaut ranked last, at 11%.”
What will our world become if kids are more likely to aspire to become YouTubers, than astronauts? If they’re choosing narcissism over gratifying the needs of others, we should definitely be concerned.
When I was growing up, children aspired to work in professions that helped others in some way or another - they wanted to be a teacher, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or an astronaut, or a fireman. They learned that if they worked really hard at school, and went on to study in those fields, they could gain rewarding careers that not only paid a satisfying salary, but that resulted in contributing to society in a meaningful way.
I know that the digital world has brought on new and exciting career options - many of which didn’t even exist when I was a child (or even when I was in university studying while trying to determine which career path to take). I think there are truly valuable job options as a result, especially as technology becomes a more essential element of our future.
But I also worry that the generations to come are more interested in gaming gigs and vlogging vocations than they are concerned with choosing careers that will better our world or even themselves - at least in some small way.
There are so many important roles that are seeing a great reduction in the number of children interested in those career paths. We need more kids to try working in the trades. There are tons of important tech jobs that need to fill openings, and teachers are still needed greatly in BC today.
Now more than ever, it’s important to show our kids the variety of vocations available to them, and why they need to think about the bigger picture when they choose which career path to follow.
Perhaps that one little step, will end up preparing them for a purposeful future.
Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Find her on Twitter @biancabujan and Instagram @bitsofbee.