Views and Visions: Did you plan your life? Part 1

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. turn out / tɜrn aʊt / (phrasal v.) – to happen, develop, or end in a certain way

    It was my first time baking a cake, but I’m very happy with how it turned out.

  2. play a role / pleɪ ə roʊl / (idiom) – to be involved in or affect something

    Teachers play a role in the development of their students.

  3. privilege / ˈprɪv ə lɪdʒ / (n.) – a right or advantage that some people have and others don’t

    Basic health care shouldn’t be a privilege. Everyone should have it.

  4. flounder / ˈflaʊn dər / (v.) – to struggle or be in serious difficulty

    She’s floundering with her online classes. I really hope students can go back to the classroom soon.

  5. single-mindedly / ˈsɪŋ gəlˈmaɪn dɪd li / (adv.) – in a way that’s focused on one specific thought, idea, or purpose

    I’m worried that Kyle is single-mindedly focused on sales. There are other things that he should consider too.


Read the text below.

I certainly had no idea that my life would turn out as it did. I look at others and often wonder how they arrived at what they do in life — the whys of who they are. How did this man become a ditch digger while that one is a baker, a salesman or a brain surgeon?

Opportunity must play a role, as well as privilege and education, but is that the whole answer?

We ask our children “What do you want to be when you grow up?” but I wonder how many people planned on doing what they’re doing? How many had it planned for them?

Parental influence explains the professions of many. Parents want their children to have their own values and interests, and sometimes they’ll pass on the family business or family traditions. Generations of cops and firefighters have kids who grow up to be cops and firefighters. Children of entertainers frequently become entertainers themselves. So, some children do follow in the footsteps of their parents, doing what they see their moms and dads do.

But children can flounder for many reasons. Poor kids might lack educational opportunities or parental guidance. But even privileged children can suffer in the educational system. If their parents single-mindedly push them to achieve straight A’s and get high qualifications, they might miss out on the real purpose of education. Shouldn’t children be encouraged to explore how they fit in society as they grow to maturity? (Beverly A. Jackson)

To be continued…

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Some children follow in the footsteps of their parents, doing what they see their moms and dads do. Why do you think it’s more common to see this with some professions (ex. cops, entertainers) than with others (ex. accountants, HR specialists)? Did you ever consider choosing the same job as your mom or dad? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Some children have their future planned for them by their parents. How do you feel about this? How much did your parents try to plan your future? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • According to the author, the real purpose of education is for children to explore how they fit in society. In your opinion, what’s the real purpose of education (ex. to teach children to think critically, to provide them with knowledge and skills for life)? Why? Discuss.
  • Some parents single-mindedly push their children to achieve straight A’s. In your opinion, how much should parents push for good grades? How strict were your parents about grades? Why? Discuss.