What Do Kids in a Developing Country Want to be When They Grow Up?

As cliche as it sounds, my kids in Bali really did teach me more than I could have ever taught them. I taught 3 classes, one of 10-12 year olds, a one-on-one with a 17 year old girl, and a class of 14-15 year olds.

One day I went around the room of my 14 and 15 year olds and asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up. The boys said things like, “a police officer” or “an army man.” One of the girls said she wanted to be a teacher, and one said she wanted to be a doctor.

I asked them why they wanted to work that occupation when they grew up. All of them said one thing in common, “Because I want to make my family proud.”

The boys who said they wanted to be a police officer or army man said they wanted to protect their country and their people. The aspiring doctor and teacher said they wanted to help others.

From what I experienced, these kids were growing up without much. They didn’t have a warm shower, an iphone, air conditioning, or many other things that we westerners take for granted. But they didn’t want jobs just to make money.

They didn’t even want to take these jobs to make themselves happy. They weren’t chasing them for passion or status. They wanted these jobs because they knew it would be valuable to their society, their people, and their culture.

It was that day I realized the more you have, the more you have to worry about. We should never chase things for the money, the status, or the power. We should chase things because it makes us a better person, it benefits the people we love, and it honors the people who have helped us.