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“What do you want to do when you grow up?”
This is what they asked. It was my junior year in high school and everyone around me had a plan; had a goal. They knew what they wanted in life, what colleges they would apply to, and what career they wanted to work towards. But me… I was lost. As hard as I tried to make those decisions that would shape my future, I discovered that there was just nothing there. Sure I could go to college, but for what? What was I good at? What did I love to do or dream of doing? There was no on who could encourage me at the time. I felt so lost and I let that stop me from moving forward for a long time.
“You can do anything you want to do and be anyone you want to be.”
This is what they said. Sure, that sounds great and maybe it is true. But this only comes true if you have a desire in mind. As for me… I was lost. Finally, I pursued college at the age of 25. I thought I wanted to become a psychologist and help Veterans like my husband. That didn’t last long and I dropped out after a year and a half. For a short time, I considered becoming a registered nurse. However, as much as I thought I wanted to, I opted out because of my phobia of needles. At the age of 27 I ended up taking make-up courses followed by enrolling in a school to become an esthetician at 28 years old. Only I never followed through with that. I remained lost.
“What do I want for my life?”
I ponder this question all of the time. I am 30 years old now and back in college. This time working towards a career in Holistic Medicine & Health. Still some days I find myself questioning it all, despite my love for the field. You see, at this point in my journey I live a busy life as a caregiver to my disabled husband, a mom to four homeschooled children, a college student, and running a blog. Many days I reflect back on those indecisive days of high school and I wish I would have had a plan or a goal early on. I look at my children and I fear for them and pray that they will never feel lost. It is in these moments that I know my calling. My blessing in life was to be a great mother and a guide for my children so that they can follow their dreams.
“What do you want to do with your life?”
This is what I ask them. I have learned through it all that it is up to me to push my children toward their future. As soon as you see a real desire and interest in a potential career field, don’t hesitate to begin to encourage growth, knowledge, and love for whatever it is. It is you, dear mom, who will help that spark of interest grow into a passion and a path for their future. Push your kids and encourage them to work towards their passion at a young age. This can help them plan for their future because it will help develop a desire for what they want to do in life and who they want to be. They will begin to think about college and what they need education wise. So that by the time they reach the end of their high school years they will have a clear sight of their end goal. They won’t feel lost.
How do I push my older kids to their future?
I have incorporated career focused education into the weekly lessons of my daughters. They are still somewhat young but have expressed a desire for their future careers. So I jumped at the opportunity to encourage them and help them grow. My ten year old daughter, Aimee, developed a passion for saving animals and I saw my opportunity to encourage her and push her towards her future. We began checking out books in relation to caring for animals and animal anatomy from the library. I then reached out to our local veterinarian and arranged a meeting. This allowed Aimee to talk to him and ask questions. She learned about the career as well as the education she would need. Lastly, we began volunteering at our local animal shelter. Here she began to help care for animals and work alongside some individuals who were knowledgeable about saving animals. We also learned that this volunteer experience would help increase her chances of being accepted into veterinarian school.
As for my twelve year old daughter, Kathy, her heart desires a career in law enforcement. She admires police officers and dreams of working for NYPD. My husband has a degree in Criminal Justice so he helped me put together a curriculum for her. She has various assignments once a week so begin her education. We arranged for her to meet with our local police department which allowed Kathy to get some real life insight into this career choice. Along with this came a tour and the encouragement to apply for the Police Explorer Program when she turns fourteen. Everything we choose to work with her on, aside from her daily lessons, prepares her for a career that she wants and pushes her to excel if she follows through with this path.
What you can do to help push your kids toward their future.
- Start by asking them what they want to do when they grow up. If they aren’t sure, take the time each week to brainstorm together what they are good at and what they love to do. Then research together where those passions and skills can lead them.
- Take the time to look into the educational requirements as well as the job duties. This will help your child better understand the path that they are considering in life and what to expect. The better that they understand the job and educational requirements, the earlier they can decide if it is for them.
- Get them involved. There are many volunteer opportunities that will encourage work ethic (among other things). This will also help form a strong college application in the future (or resume).
- Reach out. Contact companies in the field that your child is interested in. You would be surprised how many people are willing to take the time to speak with or mentor a young, inspiring mind.
- Create curriculum. It doesn’t have to be anything extensive. Just enough to get your child researching and developing a knowledge that will be needed later on in college.
- Visit the library. There are so many resources to build their knowledge and expose your child to their field of interest.
Most of all, be their cheerleader!
Let’s look at that word for a moment and break it down.
Cheer- Cheer your child on. Encourage them to begin learning. Push them to keep making forward movements and choices toward their future and goals.
Leader- Work alongside your child. Lead them on their journey until it is their time to really pursue their career on their own. Lead your children to their future path.
In no way am I saying that we should force our children to find their passion or decide on a career path. I am simply stating that we, as parents, have the tools and knowledge to encourage them to find and grow their dreams. There is never a method to finding our ‘what’ or our ‘who’. Hell, I wish it was that simple! But we should view childhood as part of the journey, for that is where passion begins and is fed. Play is a part of a child’s future, rather than just a phase. Doing this will enable us to gift our children with the knowledge, inner ability, and desire to create goals and pursue dreams.
There is never a guarantee that our efforts will succeed. I am still unsure if my efforts bless my children to find their path. But trying and encouraging our children is always better than sitting back and thinking that everything will fall into place. As a parent, as someone who feels a bit lost sometimes, I find that it is a part of our job and responsibility to ask “what do you want to do in life? Who do you want to be?” And to Push Our Kids Towards Their Future.