Helping Kids Choose Career Paths
My 6yr old little man, D1 now wants to be a Doctor, a Chef and a Teacher. Together.
D2 is now 4yrs and still wants to be a Doctor.
You ever seen anyone with combined honors a la career before?
Maybe it's going to start with my boy, D1.
Don't. Dare. Laugh. Yet.
Remember this post where he wanted to be a Doctor, an Engineer and a Pastor? Now the tides have apparently turned and the Pastor option has been eliminated in less than a year and the Chef option introduced into the equation.
He has picked an interest in cooking and is always with me in the kitchen, asking to help out with dishes and all.
His music lessons are one of the highlights of his week because he loves playing musical instruments, loves writing stories and sketching / drawing. He also loves making 'new inventions' with papers, old toys, rubber bands, clothes, etc. And he's always flaunting and waving his 'inventions' in everybody's faces, whether you like it or not...'
''mummy, see my new invention, is this not brilliant...?''
''Wow...this is very brilliant. Beautiful. You are a genius''
*high 5* *big grin* *runs off to explore more*
See how he is really rocking everything right now? I love that boy, he's always brimming with ideas.
His new 'career mix' has been on for more than two weeks and blissfully enough, two of his classmates -Tam & Op too have the same 'career mix' and he proudly announces daily that he is happy because the three of them would be friends for ever, attending the same secondary school and university. Children.
I was there before. #BeenThereDoneThat.
That confusingly sweet state where your oblivion of the 'real' world merges with the desire to be everything with the limitless options spread out before you. Blissful Ignorance.
"Mummy, I don't even know which one to choose so I want to be everything - together"
"Don't worry about that, when you're older, you'd know which 'job' you really want"
Typical mommy-response. Last time I checked, he could barely wipe his own butt...well enough.
Methinks it is still too early in the day but you can hardly dampen a young boy's spirit by telling him he does not know what he's talking about yet.
Considering his age, that crucial decision is still a long way off but there is seriously no harm in preparing ahead.
Very weird that he has never thought of photography as a career option considering the number of selfies and videos...yes you read that right...on my phone and hubby's phone too. He takes pictures of himself and everyone and everything else from different angles, gives speech / talks into the camera and stuffs. Hundreds of files that we keep deleting every time.
At a time, because he loves policemen and is always waving when we drive past them, he wanted to become one which I rejected loudly to hubby's amusement. He still wonders what is wrong with being a Policeman and I always reply, not in Nigeria. Lol.
As parents, few of us might naturally desire our offspring to take right after us in career choices. While few won't ever want that. Yet to see or hear an armed robber confessing of pushing their offspring into the same 'business'.
To be honest with you, I seriously wanted one of them to be a Doctor and the other an Engineer.
One of the great rewards of the long-haul parenting might just turn out to be seeing your children following your footsteps.
But not anymore, at least not in this age.
If we have to go by the research findings of ancenstry.co.uk, then only 7% of children today may end up following the career paths of their parents.
Take a moment to look around you and check how many children are actually following or followed in their parents' footsteps...starting with YOU.
Did you? Are you in the same profession as your parents?
Research has shown that about half of the children of the Victorian era took after their parents where careers are concerned but today, the percentage of parents encouraging their wards to choose different career options are reportedly 42% while those who still wants their children to continue in their line are put at 11%.
The reason may be because a good number of our generation were 'driven' and 'steered' towards our parents' career choices but most ended up detesting those choices and living unfulfilled lives. And today, we want our children to be happier, more fulfilled and successful than we are and in most cases to explore new roles which are more exciting.
Somebody once told me there are two very important decisions in life you cannot afford to get wrong -Career and Marriage. If you get either wrong, you may end up being miserable for the rest of your lives.
Another research puts the statistic of adults dissatisfied with their jobs at 54%. Working adults who are not engaged but merely enduring their jobs, putting in time..marking time for want of better options.
Considering everything, I'd say to myself today- DON'T PUSH, allow them follow their hearts and forge their own paths in life. But we are definitely not going to leave it entirely to them to figure it out alone when they grow older. It may not work out well that way.
We can prayerfully allow our children to forge their own paths, encourage them along those paths and when the time comes and they are old enough, assist them in every way and:
- Initiate lots of heart-to-heart conversation with them on what exactly they want from life, what they want to do and what they think would bring them joy. If their career path differs from ours, would not try to pigeon-hole them into ours. Just. Because.
- Lay out the basics and paint the true picture of what each chosen path looks like and is likely to look like in the nearest future. Would let them know that work can be enjoyable, fun and exciting...but it can also be crazily tedious so they have to be fully prepared.
- Research together their preferred careers and probably have them speak with familiar faces already in the field to have a real-life account of what it is really about
- Deliberately expose them to more career options to broaden their view. Maybe the current career mix is as a result of limited exposure...who knows? There are several exciting career options out there which they may not come across unless we make intentional efforts to expose them
- Arrange some form of work-experience with organizations in the area of their interests to aid their decision making process. I remember two brilliant young secondary school girls who came to where I work for a brief internship in 2014 just to have a feel of what electrical engineering looks / feels like to enable them decide on whether they really wants it and would be able to cope with that career option.
- Find out what they are passionate about and encourage them to explore it because they may likely succeed more doing meaningful, energizing works in their areas of passion or careers associated with them. Will never discourage D1 from making 'new inventions' or tearing out sheets for his numerous drawings or short stories, etc but will rather encourage him to keep exploring.
- Empower them in their areas of interest with the right tools.
- Make extra efforts to deeply understand them and empower them to make the right choices by helping them understand their talents and how it aligns with available career options.
- Lastly and most importantly, help them on with prayers for a clear vision and mind to help them through taking the right decisions so they can make a huge positive difference in their world.
Having said all, it would still give me great
selfish joy to see both little men taking after mum and dad but if God has better plans for them and they grow up desiring some other paths, we'd definitely support and encourage them.
What do you think?
Did you follow in your parent's footsteps?
Would you like your children follow your footsteps,career-wise?