The Worst Question to Ask a Child

And how to tackle it no matter how old you are.

Billy Frazier
5 min readJun 28, 2023
Credit: Pexels

I was utterly speechless and completely unprepared.

Frantically looking around for another classmate to save me, I was met with blank, unhelpful stares. Buttheads I thought as I admitted defeat and cleared my throat.

“I’m sorry…could you repeat the question?” I asked timidly.

My teacher rolled her eyes, gave an exasperated sigh, and once again asked:

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I had absolutely no idea.

How could I be bothered to face such an existential question (that would end up plaguing me for the rest of my life) when I had better things to do, like staring out the window while doodling superheroes all over my wide ruled notebook?

And to top it all off? I was only in third grade.

Unfortunately, I’m not the only one who has come head-to-head with this terrifying question — kids all over the world are being asked it every day and it’s only getting worse.

I’ve always wondered why grownups feel so compelled to ask a bunch of clueless children something so complicated at such a young age. It’s obvious most grown-ups mean well, but what…



Billy Frazier

Principal experience designer, writer, and leader who’s fumbling forward through a creative career while helping others do the same.