Why I Think It’s a Lie

Last week I posted this on my Facebook Status:

I recently read in a book that one of the greatest lies we tell our kids is that they can be anything they want to be.  What do you think??  

Comment after comment proved we all believed something very different.  Here are some thoughts:

  • Other than physical, what would prevent us from reaching our goal?  -Erin
  • They can it’s just up to them.  -Amber 
  • Being whatever you want is more or less living for yourself, so if you see where you can be amazing while living for others, strive for that, reach for that, accomplish that.  -Jeremiah 
  • I think it is a lie.  -Kelly  -Jim 
  • I think if they can  work hard they can be anything they want to be. – Teresa 
  • There are some things we can just never be.  -Kera 
  • I think we shouldn’t give our children a false sense of hope.  -Elaine 

These are just a few of the 40 paragraphs comments or so posted about a seemingly small issue–but is it that small? The Y generation (people born 1984-2002) is a people filled with characteristics that have never been defined by any other generation before them.  Overall, they have an “overinflated idea of their own importance.”*  They aren’t willing to settle for any job, and are more likely to change careers at least 4 times in their early adulthood.  I’m talking careers, not job changes.

Generation Y is unwilling to work hard and sacrifice for their career.  A majority of them aren’t willing to start in the mail room and work their way up.  They feel entitled and deserving of the best life now.  The millennials are the most self-confident generation ever.  They believe they can do anything they want, and we are the adults who tell them that.

Sure, with God all things are possible.  Sure if we work hard at a goal we can accomplish it, but that is very different than encouraging a child to be absolutely anything they want to be. With that said, I do believe it is a lie to tell my child that he can do anything he wants.  And dare I go further in saying, I think it’s dangerous to tell a child in today’s world that they can do anything they want.

Over the next few posts I will explain why I believe this.  What do you think? Should you tell your kids they can be whatever they want to be?  Share with me.


Telling a child they can’t be or do something is  very different than telling a child they can be anything they want.  

*Generation iY by Tim Elmore 


6 thoughts on “Why I Think It’s a Lie

  1. I’d love to hear this framed Biblically for either end of the spectrum. I struggle to recall a Biblical construct for the unfettered potential of every created being. If anything, the Bible is bursting with narratives that reveal specific giftings, entrusted talents, prescribed callings that allow individuals unprecedented superiority in some things while simultaneously being inferior in other categories. In the desire to convey equal value as persons we too quickly resolve the tension of that truth by equating it to functional and potential equality. The imagery of the human body used by Paul to express this is probably best – can the ear say to the foot I’m better or don’t need you? Are they equal? No! Can an ear mobilize the body better than the foot? Never. Are they equally critical to the whole of the body as designed? Yes. Can the ear be a great ear? Yes.

    Life’s not fair. Consider simply the allocation of territory within the Promised Land for each tribe (i.e. son of Jacob) and you’ll see the equality is not the chief aim of God: http://visualunit.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/israel-tribes.jpg

    Telling kids they can achieve great things is true and inspiring. Telling them they can or have the right to be great at anything they desire skews their theology, anthropology and missiology…plus sets them up to be plain frustrated one day!

    That’s my first reaction at least… 🙂

    1. Hi Mike– I think you said my thoughts exactly. Purpose, greatness–absolutely…anything you want to be? That is Americanized thinking.

      Thanks for your reaction. It’s not theologically sound to tell a child they can be whatever they want to be!

  2. Ultimately, life isn’t about me, it’s about God. I think a healthier place to start is not asking, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” (and that’s not just for 12 year olds, I’m 49 and still ask that one!) but “What is God calling me to be? How has He gifted me? What passions has He placed in me? Where can I best serve His kingdom and promote His glory? How can I join Him in His work?” I believe God will answer those questions and the earlier you start asking them the better.

    1. I totally agree…and that is where I’m going with this. As Christian parents, we should be asking our kids “What does God want you to do with your life?” NOT “What do YOU want to be?” Maybe 40 years ago it wasn’t such a huge issue to ask a child what they wanted to be…and even encouraged kids to be whatever they wanted…but kids have changed, and so has our world–and not necessarily for the better. As we see the moral decline in our world, as parents we must challenge our children to think beyond themselves–this includes allowing them to hold onto the fears that won’t allow them to fulfill what God has for them.

      Thanks for commenting–ever thought of starting a BLOG??!

  3. I agree with the commenters above. A better statement would probably be “You can be anything God wants you to be” for if He has called us, He will also empower us to fulfill the calling!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s