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When I Grow Up

What will you become?

by James Lamont (revised, originally published in 2011)

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To look ahead to the future while looking back on our time in school.

Preparation and materials

  • None required.


  1. Many people view life as both a journey in itself and as a series of smaller journeys. Most of us will make great changes during our lives, such as moving to a new class, a new school or even a new town.

    As we enter a new year, many of us will have thought about changes that we might like to happen in our lives. As we move through the year, we will all be preparing for changes. For some of us, these changes might involve a journey on to college or independent adulthood.

  2. All of us are walking on this road – the road of life. We all change, every year. Hopefully, we are all more mature now than when we started at this school. However, the transition from school or college to work or university is likely to be the biggest change that many will have had to face. Not everyone loves every minute of their time in school, but a good education improves our chances of success and happiness in life.

  3. Let’s try to imagine ourselves in ten years’ time. We’ve been invited to deliver a talk at our school, giving an account of our incredible success, which we worked hard to achieve. We walk down the corridors of our school. It looks slightly different – there is new art on the walls and perhaps a new building – but the atmosphere is the same. We meet new teachers as equals, and maybe even catch up with a couple from when we were students at the school. Their hair may be greyer, but they are still the same people.

  4. How might we feel? Maybe a little uncomfortable, because we are back in a place that we had once been happy to leave. Maybe glad, because of the chance to relive the best days of our lives and be regarded as successful. Maybe we would feel reflective, asking ourselves ‘Have I done everything that I wanted to do since stepping out of those doors for the last time?’ Such a visit would provide a great opportunity to reflect on our own life and happiness.

  5. At the start of the year, let’s remember that we are each responsible for ourselves. Each of us can do our best to become better people. It’s up to us to make good choices about our lives, how we behave and what we want to achieve – no one else can make those decisions for us!

Time for reflection

Take some time to reflect on the years that you have spent at this school and at the primary schools that you attended before coming here.

What are you proud of?

Pause to allow time for thought.

What do you wish had gone differently? Can you put those things right?

Pause to allow time for thought.

What friends have you made? How will you maintain those relationships?

Pause to allow time for thought.

What are your hopes for the future? How will you achieve those dreams? How will you become a better person?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Remember that who you are is much more important than what you gain materially.

We give thanks for all those who have helped us on our way:
For teachers, friends and colleagues.
Now, we look to the future. May we be full of hope and anticipation.
Please help us to work hard this year.
Please help us to become better people.
Please help us to fulfil our potential.

Publication date: January 2024   (Vol.26 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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