From the mouths of babes

According to the results of the 9th Annual Adecco Children’s Survey, the children in Singapore want to be either teachers or doctors when they grow up. I’m not sure what the sample size of this survey was, but it does seem that teachers are well-regarded by children from 7-14 years of age in Singapore. If I were cynical, I would point out that this group, ranging from Primary 2 to Secondary 2, are still young enough to not have exposure to the many career choices that are open to them. If I were even more cynical, I would say that these children do not realize what goes either job really entails — just because you see your teacher every day in class or you see your General Practitioner every time you have a flu does not mean you understand their job. Before I was a teacher, for instance, I never really thought about who did the school newsletter. I assumed the Principal did it — or at least someone in the office. Surely my teachers couldn’t do it! They would be busy marking my work! (Of course, as how it often happens, I ended up editing the newsletter as an almost one-woman-show for 5 years, while my students thought the Principal did the whole newsletter by herself.)

I had a good laugh at the monthly income the children expected to earn (ranging from $1.85 to $1 million) as well as their alternative career choices (Wolverine was one), and was impressed by what the kids would do if they were Prime Minister. From the article, these included:

  • Making HDB Homes more affordable
  • Helping the homeless and aged by providing free medical check-ups
  • Creating a home for abandoned animals
  • Making Earth Day Compulsory
  • Trying to Save the Environment

If this list is anything to go by, it shows that our character and values education have worked. By the time these kids grow up, I would be part of ‘the aged’. It’s heartening to think that the future generation would think about me.

My favourite part of the survey results was this section:

To the question “What is more importantĀ  to make lots of money or to spend time with your family?”, the Survey revealed that 73% of children would prefer to spend time with their families rather than make money. The majority of children surveyed understood the importance of spending time with their families and that it is something that money cannot buy. Some of the reasons include:

  • Because time is precious
  • Family comes first
  • Money cannot buy happiness
  • My Family is the Best!

How children can understand what so many adults cannot baffles me. Perhaps this is something we forget along the way, as materialism and consumerism and keeping up with the Tans’, the Sivas’ and everyone else come in.

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