Don’t Ask a Child ‘What’ They Want to Be, Ask ‘Who’ They Want to Be

child dressed up as a vet holding a stuffed dog and vet kit

A veterinarian. That’s what my wonderful six-year-old wants to be when she grows up.

But here’s my dream for my child as she ages:

I hope she grows up to be a giver and receiver of kindness. That’s it.

I did an interview recently where I was asked what my “family motto” was, and those words instinctively slipped from my lips. Academics, popularity, sports—those things are secondary. I just want my children to navigate this beautiful but often brutal world with a kind heart.

I probably would’ve said something different years ago. Doctors, lawyers, big homes, and bank accounts. But after both of my children were diagnosed with autism, none of that mattered. I quickly began to realize that the most important thing a child can become is an adult who offers radical acceptance.

So that became the new goal: can my children look out for others instead of just themselves?

And, can that favor be returned? Is this world willing to accept and love them exactly as they are?

I think it’s a great possibility if all parents begin asking their children WHO they want to be when they grow up instead of WHAT they want to be.

That’s my motto. My greatest hope. My parenting goal.

To More Love,


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