I’ve always thought it hugely unfair that we send our 18-year-olds off to college and expect them to choose a major and decide what it is, exactly, that they’d like to do for the rest of their life.
I don’t know about you, but my life sure doesn’t look anything like I thought it would when I was 18.
Lacking life experience, emotional intelligence, and a fully developed prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain that thinks rationally), few people would argue that these kids are ready to know exactly what they want to be “when they grow up.”
But the fact remains that this is how things work, so as parents we’ve got to figure out how to help them navigate through it.
Here are a few tips.
Columbia Bible College has partnered with AllMomDoes to sponsor this post and bring you this information.
1. Don’t place them in a box. I get it. They loved their Legos, so you think they’d be an amazing engineer. They had a perfect quip for every argument at age 4, so you pegged them for a future lawyer. As parents it’s easy to think that we know our children best – and that therefore we know what’s best for our children. But the truth is that we have no idea what it’s like to actually BE our children, or to feel what they feel. So let go of your dreams and listen to theirs – even if at first you don’t agree with them. Just let them be heard.
2. Encourage them to do research. Dreams are one thing, but reality is another. The truth of the matter is that kids really do need to be fully educated on their career or interest area. Are there jobs available? What is the typical work day like? How much can you potentially earn? How much do you think you’ll need to earn to live the lifestyle you want? It’s hard to let things like money influence passions, but it’s necessary research. And this needs to be done by them, not you.
3. Listen to their plan. We know you’ve got your opinions, mom. And you’ve got your fears. Your child wants to be a musician, so you imagine him living in your basement and practicing in your garage when he’s in his 40’s. Your kid loves sports, but you know the reality about making it big. But the truth is that after doing their research they may actually have a plan, or a back-up plan, or even a back-up to the back-up. If you just shoot down their ideas before they even share them, you’ll miss the opportunity to guide them through their choice.
4. Help them expand their horizons. And expand yours as well. So you know your child excels in and loves music. While their dream of becoming the next big headliner may be far-fetched, there are actually lots of musicians that make a good living in a career they love. Music teachers. Worship leaders. Music therapists. The same goes for sports – there are tons of jobs besides “athlete.” There are physical therapists. Agents. Equipment engineers. A quick Google search of “careers in the sporting industry” should get the ball rolling. Start introducing your child to careers on the periphery of their dream and they might just find something that piques their interest in a way that they never even thought of.
5. Choose a college that has their best in mind just like you. Mom, you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting. Solid parental guidance coupled with a high-quality educational institution can help your child solidify where their dreams, skills, interests, and callings collide. Columbia Bible College is committed to not only helping its students find their calling, but in helping them train for a future career with a kingdom perspective. When you guide your child toward the right school, you can feel confident they’re in a place that’s as invested in their spiritual growth and future success as you’ve been all through their growing-up years.
Moms, what tips do you have to help guide your child through finding their calling and choosing their career?