My son, who is entering the 12th grade, and I spend a lot of time talking about his future. One thing that’s starting to frighten him is deciding what he wants to do with the rest of his life. I get it. That’s a huge decision for a seventeen-year-old. What do I want to do every day for the rest of my working life? Some days I still question my choices and I’m well over 17.
As a parent, it’s my job to guide him in the right direction without pushing him. I know the paths I could see him taking, but whenever I mention those options he immediately dismisses them. I trust that if I’m right, then he’ll come to it on his own at the right time, and without me shoving it down his throat.
When it comes to having the discussion with your teen about their future there are three key things you may want to tell them:
- Don’t choose a job based on money. Of course, we all need money to survive, that’s a given, but I don’t want my son, or daughter, to work just to earn money. I also don’t want them to work just to make someone else rich. I want them to spend their time doing something they love, trusting, and believing that the money will come. Growing up, my family never told me to find something you’re passionate about doing, then set out to do it. Nope! The expectation was for me to get an education, get a good job, stay on that job for 20+ years, retire, and live off of the retirement money. Now that I’m older and wiser, I understand there are other paths in life and I want my children to choose the ones that leave them fulfilled as well as financially stable.
- Pay attention to everything. Not too long ago, my son and I had this discussion. I told him it’s time to become more aware. I believe that every situation and every conversation could lead us to where we’re supposed to be in life. My son plays basketball. In his mind, it’s just something fun to do, but I showed him how being on the team could lead him to his destination. Not necessarily with basketball as a career, but imagine if he was at a tournament, which tends to last all day. He could meet someone who could share something with him that could change his life, or at least give him an idea of what he wants to do. I want him to be present and in the moment and look for signs in every situation and conversation.
- Pray about it. As Christians, it’s our belief that God created us for a specific purpose. We don’t always know what that purpose is, but through prayer, we can find out. Even though it’s #3 on this list, it was actually the first thing I told my son to do. I told him to pray and ask God to show him his purpose. Oftentimes, we spend time trying to figure it out for ourselves and end up using, I hate to say wasting, more time than needed getting to where we’re supposed to be. The reason I don’t like to say “wasting time” is because of #2. I believe every situation can teach a lesson if we allow it.