Maclean’s asked more than 60 young people across Canada what they like about childhood and what they dislike, what they look forward to and what bothers them about becoming grownups. A sampling of their answers:
I just love dancing. You get to run around and be free. You don’t have to worry about taxes or anything. I don’t think there is a worst thing about being a kid. There are some bad things, but not a worst. A bad thing would be getting in trouble with teachers.
—Lawrence Laurel, 11, Winnipeg
I have a lot of stress and anxiety about growing up because I’ve been through a divorce. Will my kids get into drugs? Will I have a divorce? Will I even be able to get married to a good guy?
—Marla Richman, Ik, Vancouver
I’m worried about not having any money, because the dollar is really going down. I worry about having to live out of a van because I don’t have any money. I am kind of worried about another world war and us being sent off to get killed and kill people. Killing people wouldn’t
be as bad as getting killed. But we probably won’t be sent off anyway. They’ll just drop bombs.
—Csaba Suveges, 10, Calgary
If you are a kid you don’t have to pay taxes or work. You get to play baseball, watch TV, buy toys and go for long drives in the car. The worst thing is having to go to school and having to do the chores. I worry that my parents are going to die, or one of my cats. I want to be grown-up so I can play ball in the major leagues.
—Sean Jordan, 8, Halifax
I want to be a doctor because you get to save people’s lives and make a lot of money. You need lots of money today because there are so many things to buy. I want a Lamborghini.
—Emmanuel Dilaveris, 10, Montreal
I’m really looking forward to being able to support myself and not having to depend on my parents. But I am scared that if I don’t get a good enough job then I don’t really want to fall back on my parents. I’m scared about leaving school and all my friends along with it. I’m not saying that my friends won’t be there all my life, but there is always something
that splits friends up after school ends. I really hate the way some adults treat kids. It’s as if they don’t think that we are important. They have to realize that pretty soon we will be out in the workforce alongside them.
—Tina Goddard, 17, Saskatoon
The worst thing about becoming an adult is feeling frenzied because you have got too much to do, too much to think about and too much to worry about—like jobs and money and what to do with your future.
—Cecilia Cunnington, 9, Oakville, Ont.
The thing I look forward to most of all about being a grown-up is finding the Loch Ness monster and solving other mysteries.
—Jesse Gliebovitz, 8, Halifax
The worst thing about being a kid is having to eat food that you don’t likelike lobster. Sometimes you get a cut and parents make you put stuff on it that really hurts, like alcohol.
—Stefan Overgaard, 8, Toronto
I want to have my own apartment and decorate it with pretty things. I don’t know what exactly. I have lots of time to decide.
—Maud Labesse, 8, Montreal
I miss my childhood. I grew up too fast, and I didn’t really have much of it. But I didn’t miss rules and parents.
—Nancy Sheppard, 15, Toronto
My fear about being an adult is that I might not be able to be successful in my career and meet my parents’ expectations. What I hate about growing up is
that I won’t have anything to fall back on like my parents. If I make my own decision, I will have to stick by that. I don’t have to be the best, but I have to be successful and to be happy with what I am doing.
—Joanna Reynolds, 17, Winnipeg
I like reading scientific books, adventure science and how to do things. When I am a grown-up I look forward most to going to the deepest part of the ocean and to take photographs of sea animals. I want to solve the world’s problems through knowledge.
—Dugan Chen, 7, Vancouver
Adults aren’t as athletic. They can’t do cartwheels or slide on slides, because they are too big. They don’t like being seen playing in the park. Most adults don’t like to play around with kids.
—Mary Dempster, 11, Toronto
I guess my fears about becoming an adult are about getting a job really and not really finding the right husband, having kids and stuff.
—Danielle Trombley, 15, Regina
What I look forward to most about being a grown-up is not having to go to school, but also having my own job and having my own money. I’d like to be a teacher and a book writer.
—Jessica Wallace, 10, Saint John
The worst thing about being an adult is that they have to clean up a lot after their kids, if they have lazy kids like our parents do.
—Sarah Galt, 11, Stouffville, Ont.
It’s getting harder to get a job. Nuclear war. More pollution. But I look forward to getting a good job. I hope to get into computer programming. I’m not sure how to reconcile my fears of not getting what I want with what I want. I will just have to live with it.
—Christopher Cossalter, 15, Burnaby, B.C.
I want to play football. I want to drive a car. That’s about it. I worry about having to go through things, like my mom and dad dying.
—Sean Daley, 10, Gloucester, Ont.
It’s hard to get a job. My brother told me that. He’s 16, and sometimes he worries about it. If you finish school, it’s easier. You have to try hard.
—Benedetto Silletta, 12, Montreal
I like computers and things that work by electricity. Computers make people more smart and the world easier for us. I worry about diseases. You can catch them easy. The water could get poisoned.
—Nathan Thompson, 11, Montreal
Peer pressure is a lot more blatant nowadays. You have to follow the group to wear the right clothes and listen to the right music. It goes more on the girls and that, but you just don’t want to wear brown socks to school.
—Craig Shworan, 17, Calgary
When you’re little you can do things that adults can’t, like skateboarding. You’re in better shape, and you have more energy. Adults don’t have as much time to have fun. I want to be the best skateboarder and go to California.
That’s where the skateboarding championships are. It’s nice place to visit, too, near the ocean and everything.
—Thomas Demange, 10, Montreal
The best thing about being a kid is being a girl kid and being small so nobody beats you up. When I grow up I’m going to find me a husband and buy me a new house, with no rats or mice in it, for my whole family.
—Brenna Loppie, 8, Halifax
Taking care of kids—I don’t think I’ll like that very much. I’ll enjoy playing with them and everything, but getting up in the middle of the night and all, I don’t think I’ll enjoy that very much.
— Todd Redshaw, 12, North Bay, Ont.
When I think about the future, I wonder how long the world’s going to last. I can do things on my own now, which is great, but because I’m a teenager I’m stereotyped into the loud music and ‘me’ scene.
—Laurel McDonald, 16, Halifax
I look forward to having a profession and to having something to do more than school. I want to be a scientist or an NHL hockey player. I don’t really worry too much about anything.
—Jonathan Quong, 9, Vancouver
You get treated real good by your parents. You get to do a lot of things when you are young so you’ll remember them when you are older. Worries about growing up? Not much—just the people in the city that could ruin the world.
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