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Children Without a Future Career Plan Wander in Darkness

I can remember being six years old, like it was just yesterday, when my mother asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, and I can recall it so clearly; my little voice responding, “A teacher.” It was like I had written my career goals in stone.

At six years old, I had engraved a stepping stone into my life, and I am realizing it today, as that school teacher decades later.  I’m not sure what made me stick to the plan, but whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be in life, my quick, impulsive reaction was always “A teacher." I can’t say if being a teacher was actually the career that I wanted at the time, but I had programmed myself to say it was. 

Claiming it made me feel confident—and regardless of if it was just encoded in my head or not, I had a plan; therefore, I had a purpose and that is what made all the difference in the direction of my life.  Parents can’t tell a child what to be when they become adults; however, they can spark an interest and open pathways. Here are some teacher-child career conversation ideas:

  • Plant a seed and explore

Discuss different career choices with your child. Explain to your child that he/she can be anything they want to be.

  • Discuss ideal possibilities

Often children get caught in fantasy and what they see on TV. Letting a child know the difference between ideal, more attainable careers and careers that are less likely to be obtained helps them to make more certain career decisions.

  • Start Early

Some parents may think that children are too young to understand what a career is or what having educational goals are, but children who are exposed to the idea at young ages are able to get a head start in becoming purpose driven as they grow.

  • Role models

Children often have adults they look up to. Talking about role models can create segue into conversation about your child’s career goals.

  • Put it on paper 

With your child, have her write down her goals in life. This helps her to remember and keep goals in mind. In addition, have her write down the steps towards achieving those goals. This leads to creating stepping stones towards a life of success. This plan is not unchangeable. It can always be revised.

  • Post goals

Seeing is believing. Posting these goals helps your child keep the ideas current.

  • The future and me

Ask your child what does he/she like, what does he/she like to do and where do they see themselves in 10 to 20 years.

  • Casual Career Conversation.

Sparking light conversation every now and again perhaps during a trip to the store fosters career awareness. For example a parent might pass by a restaurant, and mention to a child that the franchise was created by a group of doctors. This helps make career choices real and seem more attainable.

  • Plan or plan to fail.

Children without a plan tend to experience while desperate to fill a void. Without seeing a light that leads towards their future, many children result to going through life like a speeding derailed train.

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