What did you want to be when you grew up? How many of you knew the answer to that question when you were 8 or 10 or...50?
When I was 12 or so, I wanted to be (all simultaneously, of course) an Olympic track star, Broadway singer and an astronaut. Today, I am none of these, although I did have my turn on the track and the stage, and call myself an armchair astrophysicist.
Have you asked your kids/students/family members lately what they want to be when they grow up? The lawyers, doctors, actresses and actors probably have been able to give you a very definitive answer pretty quickly, but I can guess that a lot of kids don't have a ready-made answer to that question. There is a lot more flexibility today in the job market than just a few years ago and the answer to that question is not as simple as it seems.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* YOSHIDA'S WORLD-TRAVELING KIDS
Kids2Kids had our last session at the Yoshida community center at the end of June, where the kids focused on their "Future Self" (未来の自分).
Rather than asking the question: "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
This exercise asked the kids to think about what problem or issue in the world or their communities that they want to solve. (〇〇になりたいより、どんな問題を解決したい？) We used the piece, "If the World Were a Village of 100 People" (世界がもし100人の村だったらどんな問題がありますか？) to narrow down a few problems.
To help the kids figure out what issues they wanted to be a part of the solution for, we used the process of mind mapping to encourage them to put any of their thoughts down on paper, with no rhyme or reason. Encouraging them to be messy and learn that there are no wrong answers.
Two students immediately had quick answers to what they wanted to be when they grew up...both designers, one for video games and one for fashion.
When asked, "So, what problem do you think that could help solve?", they were stumped, but the other students in the class (with fantastic support from our junior high school helpers) came up with some great answers:
1. Video games could help kids who couldn't go to school to communicate with others and build their own communities. They could also help kids of all abilities improve their dexterity and thought processes.
2. Fashion design could help people with body issues feel more confident and happier if they had clothes that made them feel good about themselves.
As a reminder of the time spent learning a little more about their communities and making the world feel a little bit closer through our exchange with our friends in the Philippines, we will be setting up a rock garden at the community center that have the kids favorite words written out in Japanese and Cebuano to inspire anyone who comes across it.
This was a wonderful opportunity for the kids to learn not only about themselves and their own communities, but also about daily life in the Philippines, conservation of the environment through mangroves, river cleanup and fireflies, and how to be global citizens, all over a period of 4 classes and 2 community activities conducted over a 2-month period.
I would like to thank Analeh Patindol, our local coordinator in the Philippines for her tireless dedication to the program, the Yoshida Community Center director and her staff, community volunteers, and the Yoshida Junior High School student council for all their help over the past two months in our first community-based program!