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What do you want to be when you grow up?

Posted by David Elsing (Head of Secondary) | Found in: Leadership Blog

What do you want to be when you grow up? Its a question that we are asked from an early age.

I remember my mother telling me that as a six-year-old when she was asked this question she replied:
"I want to work in a cafe".
Her father, reacting to her somewhat limited ambition promptly expressed his disapproval (this was the 1970s after all and women’s liberation was in full swing).
"What do you want to do that for?" he asked. In my mother's mind, a cafe was warm (she grew up in England), hospitality staff were nice and the food was tasty! Why wouldn't a six-year-old want to work in a cafe?

By the time students reach the middle years of high school, they are beginning to realise that choosing career pathways involves navigating parental expectations, personal capacity, commitment and interests, and the reality of the opportunities before them, either at school or in the broader economy. Students need to learn about all the options available to them, begin researching different careers, and exploring the requirements that lead to these careers.

Often students present with the feeling 'I don't know what I want to do'. This is a common roadblock for students. As a past colleague of mine says to his parents during pathway information nights –
"Hands up who wants their children still living at home when they are 49?"
No hands ever go up.
"Good" he says, "let's work backwards from there."
There are many adults who still 'don't know what they want to do.' However, the reality of maturity and leadership in taking responsibility for yourself and others, as well as having the ability to provide for yourself and your family, is essential for a happy future. Career pathways can change, but you need to start somewhere.

This week we will be hosting an information session for Year 7-10's about electives and upper school pathways. Parts of these presentations, especially for the 10s, will touch on University entry and TAFE pathways. It’s important for you to spend time with your children researching together possible career pathways. Two free quality resources are accessible here:


In Term 3, Year 10s will have individual pathways counselling sessions with members of our academic administration, which we trust will help guide students to pathways they can commit to. In the meantime, can I encourage you to spend time with your children exploring the future together?

We make our own plans, but the LORD decides where we will go. (Proverbs 16:9)

The idea of ‘Faith in the Future’ is a theme for us at MCC. We know that all things work out for the good of those that love God, and we are told in Proverbs that while we may plan our pathways, the Lord determines our actual steps. It is comforting to know, that in the face of so much choice and uncertainty around career pathways, God knows us and loves us – his plans are good and thus we can trust him with our future.

David Elsing