Can kids find their ikigai?

Mukul Dixit
Mukul Dixit
27 Aug, 21 · 5 min read
Can kids find their ikigai?
IKIGAI; Is this the missing link in the entire education cycle?

In this article we will see why is it important for kids to start finding their ikigai and how can education play an instrumental role in achieving this.

What is ikigai?

“Do what you love” or “love what you do” we all have heard this success mantra many times and from many great people. You yourselves must have also experienced this at-least once that you were at our best when were doing what you loved the most. It is because when you are in love with what you are doing, outcome takes care of itself.

“Ikigai” meaning “life with a purpose”, is that tool given by Japanese to find your passion, mission, talent and career so that you live a joyful life.
Ikigai: The Japanese secret to live a long & happy life
Ikigai: The Japanese secret to live a long & happy life
How can parents find ikigai important for their kids?

Every kid knows what he/she likes. And their curiosity plays an important role in getting them hooked into activities they may like. Once they get involved in these activities they immediately know if they love it or not. And if they have found a few activities they love, congratulations!, thats the beginning of ikigai.

These activities could be: reading, sports, science, arts or coding; one or many. Now suppose you see your child getting really interested in doing reading/writing & sports, what will you do. Knowing this you do some research on which careers include one or both of reading/writing and sports. A few options can be a sportsperson, a sports journalist, a school team coach, a sports blogger, a commentator. Then you guide your child to explore these careers by attending camps, meeting people in similar professions, meeting fellows who are pursing these careers, participate in tournaments, do projects. Trying & experimenting will help in filtering the options and choose the best one.
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How can education help kids find their ikigai?

Finding ikigai is not a one day exercise. One has to try, research, experiment, introspect and persist to see what ticks all the boxes in the ikigai diagram. Since a child’s time can be divided in two spectrums i.e. in-school or after-school, we as parents and schools need to create maximum opportunities by designing educational system that connects both education and careers.

STEP 1: How to determine WHAT A CHILD LOVES?
  • By connecting learning or curriculum to careers or industries or real world needs/problems/activities, you can provide your child exposure to a lot of options. Instead of asking your children what they want to “be” when they grow up, just see what excites them, what real life problems matter to them. Then help them find a career that helps to solve that problem.
  • Exploring & understanding strength, interests and values. It helps in making better connections with a variety of careers. Kids should reflect on “who they are, what they want from life, what they enjoy doing and what their values are. It’s then matching that with realistic opportunities out there.”

STEP 2: How to determine WHAT A CHILD IS GOOD AT?

How can you or your children realise that they are or can be good at something? Simple answer is : By exploring and engaging them further in the their interest. As a parent or school our job is to find enough opportunities for children to experience, practice and develop skills in the areas of interest. You can do it:
  • By making children do projects through which they can continuously apply there skills & learning in real life.
  • By developing system that helps them assess about where they are and set goals.
  • By setting up a model of success by connecting with Industry Role Models through work based learning.
Remember there can be multiple interests that a child can pursue at this stage.

STEP 3: How to determine WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS?
  • By embedding opportunities for kids to explore and understand what kind of sectors, organisations, work cultures and jobs exist or will come up in future around the area of their interest. Government and non-government organisations provide information on labour market through various reports and platforms. Recruiting agencies and freelancing platforms can also be very helpful.
  • Engaging children in Work-Based Learning and community service by finding mentors in the area of interest, collaborating with other children with similar interest and doing projects to solve community problems/needs.
  • Once sufficient exploration is done on what child loves, what child is/can be good at and what kind of opportunities exists in real world. It is then most important to determine specific knowledge, skills and abilities required to become a useful resource to serve the world. These can then be honed in the school or out of the school curriculum targeting these.
STEP 4: How to determine WHAT WILL EARN THEM THE DESIRED LIVING STANDARD?

Firstly, it is important to develop the consciousness towards income and quality of life so that a balance is achieved. It is well understood by present generation that quality of life to not directly proportional to the amount of income. There are many other important aspects of life as well.
  • By including basic financial literacy in curriculum to enable your children to financially connect & evaluate their interests, their skills & market opportunities.
  • By making them understand the return on investing in a particular interest area and hence education.
  • By making them research and look at careers & opportunities in different fields at a variety of income levels. Read local and global reports from prominent organisations about growing markets & consumer behaviours in the related sectors.
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Children are naturally sensitive and conscious about their interest and can organically find their ikigai along the course of their life. As parents the least we can do is, not immediately rejecting what they like, if we cannot relate their interest to some existing real world profession, and ask them to fall in the rat race trap.

Parents who let their children pursue their interest and provide them the right guidance and opportunities, make great humans and personalities out of them.
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Mukul Dixit
Written by
Mukul Dixit
Self Employed IOT Enthusiast

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