What do you want your children to be when they grow up? Sometimes adults pose this question amongst each other. The answers provide insights into our priorities, hopes and dreams for our children. There are some who hope their children will follow in their footsteps. Some hope they will take on prestigious careers that will give them fame and fortune. Personally, my hope has always been that my kid will simply be happy.
Today, students are given multiple opportunities throughout their time in school to take aptitude tests that will then provide insights into the kinds of work to which the child is best suited. The expectation, of course, is that these are useful tools in helping parents and children decide on the kinds of classes they will take in secondary school and the kinds of activities best suited for them. In Ontario, this process culminates in a “Careers” course taken in grade 10 which is designed to help students explore post-secondary options and the programming required to achieve these.
How realistic is this process?
Unpacking this process, it becomes possible to recognise an expected linear progression from the results of the aptitude tests to the acquisition of skills to the attainment of an appropriate job. There was a time when this progression was the reality for most. By the time Generation X (i.e., those born between 1965 and 1981), entered the workforce this process began to shift to the point that it is now expected that long term employment with one company (or even in one industry) is a thing of the past. Furthermore, thanks largely to technology, it is expected that a majority of children today will actually end up in jobs that don’t even exist yet.
What can parents do?
Parents can begin by reflecting on our own journeys through life. How often did our paths change? Why did we make those changes? What were the consequences of such changes? By drawing from our own experiences we can help young people feel comfortable about uncertainty. Regardless of where our children are in the process, we show through our experiences that no single choice will permanently establish our future. To the extent that we recognise the shifting landscape in which we have come to live, we can help our children be comfortable with the changes and shifts that they will face on their life’s journeys.
What is important is that we keep the lines of communication open, remain willing to learn and patient as we walk with our children through the challenges and changes of living in this millennia. They don’t have to walk this path alone and neither do we. On Apr. 29th beginning at 5pm at Essex United we will have our first Thrive! Dinner, an opportunity to gather for food, fellowship and programming that will explore the ways we as parents, teenagers, tweens and children can navigate through the changing landscape of today. All are welcome to come to the table to be nourished and nourish one another.
Thrive! A living manual for families uses the tools of social media and food and fellowship to facilitate conversation about the blessings and challenges of being family today. Check out http://stpaulstrinity.org/?page_id=2100 for more information or visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ThriveFamiliesManual/