I never liked being asked "what do you want to be when you grow up?" After a while, I became numb to the question and just said "architect" because I liked to build things out of K'nex. Eventually that morphed into "engineer" part way through high school after a neat summer camp I went to. I did end up going to engineering school, but I took a year off in the middle to start a business, did a lot of education things on the side, and then graduated and became a teacher. Who knows how long I will teach. My point is that my identity, who I am and what I believe, have almost nothing to do with my current job, and changing jobs is about as complicated as buying a new house (not something you should do every two years, but hardly impossible).
What then should we ask kids when we want to know who they want to be when they grow up? I'm not completely sure, but I think it has something to do with their mindset. My short definition of mindset is "how you evaluate what happens around you". This includes views on failure, how optimistic you are, what you believe is possible, and how people can/do achieve difficult things.
My mindset has not significantly changed, nor have my core beliefs, since I was in high school, and they have been almost constant since my first year of college. I believe that the world can be better, and should be better, and that I can develop the skills (through consistent effort) to make it better. I started in engineering because it seemed like the most natural field to develop my interest in problem solving, and the design-heavy curriculum I went through at Olin failed to disappoint that desire. I went into education because I thought it was the field where I could get the most bang for my buck, the most impact per hour of any other field I could be in. And beneath all of this is a Christian foundation that motivates these desires and strengthens them when they temporarily stop being fun. All of this together helps me define my purpose and give clarity to what I should be doing next in my life. Though I try to stay as open as possible to nearly anything, my mindset and core beliefs will probably not change a lot in my lifetime. It is anyone's guess what my job will be a few years down the line, but I'm confident that my life choices will reflect my mindset and views of my role in the world.
Back to kids -- how do we get them to give serious thought to, and be intentional about, the development of their mindset as prepare to leave school? I feel like mindset is not openly questioned all that often, and yet it seems to be the core of who we will become.