Daring to dream: why we should let kids be kids

A care-free child running around inside the ruins of a castle.

I was interested to read about a school banning pupils from dressing up as YouTubers and sports stars for its World of Work Day recently.

I wrote about the amount of homework young children get earlier this week and it links to the same theme. Namely that we should let kids be kids.

The rationale offered by the school was that jobs like this are “so hard to achieve”. Now I know I’m picking on one example here, but I think it’s a symptom of a disease.

We’re talking about primary school children here.┬áLife for them is so much harder than when we were kids. Do we really need to trample on their dreams too?

Sure, these may be lofty ambitions but what’s wrong with that? The primary school years should be about daring to dream. Childhood is so fleeting as it is. Children should know that they can achieve great things if they put their minds to them.

This seems to be another example of kids being treated like adults too soon. It’s as if we’re living in a Dickens novel. They’re being taught to work, work, work and dissuaded from thinking about what they want out of life.

When I was at secondary school, I really wanted to be a journalist. A teacher who I liked and respected greatly told me it was too competitive and that I should aspire to something else. I felt deflated but took his advice and soon forgot about it.

Years later, I had finished university and was in a repetitive job that wasn’t challenging me. During a tea break, I spotted an ad for an NCTJ course. I signed up the next day, quit my job soon afterwards and put everything into my studies. A year later I was deputy editor on a national magazine.

It wasn’t the coolest of titles, but I was writing features and news, editing copy and learning new skills.┬áThis led to other jobs and experiences which ultimately set me up for what I’m doing now. A professional blogger, loud and proud.

It’s hard work and not nearly as glamorous as people think it is, but it’s my dream job. I learn new things all the time and no two days are the same.

Things could have worked out so differently and, although I bear my old teacher no ill will, I still regret holding his advice in such regard.

We should allow children to dream of great things. Furthermore, we should encourage them. They may end up changing their minds or not achieving what they hoped, but that’s no reason not to try. We shouldn’t be teaching them to keep their heads down at such a young age.

“Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star,” says an oft-quoted pearl of wisdom. I say let kids be kids. If mine want to do that, I won’t stand in their way.


  1. David @DadvWorld

    Great read Tom. 100% agree. Kids should be actively encouraged to do dream and believe they can achieve anything. If we breed a generation with the notion that all they need is a dream and hard work, imagine the things they could achieve.

    If a teacher ever told my child they couldn’t achieve something I would be spitting feathers! Thats is unacceptable.

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