Friday, 16 August 2013

Do you want fries with your meal?

Do you want fries with your meal?
16 August 2013

My eldest sprog Luke, is at crossroads of sorts.  At the very tender age of fifteen, he has to make subject choices, for his final three years of High School.  And so by default, he has to pick a career now too.

How utterly bizarre!  At fifteen, he can barely decide what he wants to have for lunch.  Or which socks to wear for hockey practice.  Asking him to make a humongously important career decision, that will affect the rest of his life, is rather cruel.  And an absolutely unrealistic expectation. 

It is true that some kids know from a very young age, exactly what they want to be.  And even manage to stick to this career goal set of theirs.  Though I suppose that they make up a very small percentage of kids who know with absolute crystal clear clarity, the direction they want to follow.  For the most of them, it’s not so easy.  And a fair bit of floundering seems to be par for the course.

If I think about it, it really baffles the mind.  How can Luke be expected to know?  I don’t blame the school, or the education system.  Kids across the world are faced with the same dilemma.  This is the age where you make these types of decisions.  However I don’t quite think that kids fathom the enormity of it.  How very important this all is.  It’s just unfortunate that they have to make such a critical and vital decision, when they don’t know enough yet about our great big world.  Their experience is limited.  Their expectations unrealistic.  Their ideals idealistic.  Their understanding of how stuff works, infantile.

As adults and parents, our duty and job is to guide.  To advise.  To show the pros and cons of some of the career options, he’d like to indulge in.  And as positive as I would like to be, sadly it is highly unlikely that he’ll ever get to coach Real Madrid Football Club.  Or be a sports physiotherapist for Liverpool.  Or a manager for Bayern Munich.  Or a football talent scout for the English National team.

So what do I do?  Do I kill a dream?  Or do I allow him to pursue a career choice, that could potentially leave him unfulfilled and frustrated?  How do I gently nudge him into a more employable direction?  One that might actually have the end result of gaining him some financial flexibility, apart from the obvious and very important ideal of career satisfaction too.

And so for now, my guidance is to play it safe.  To stock up and stack up on subjects that allow for lots of freedom of movement.  For flexibility and a plethora of career and job choices out there.

He can’t take the “easier” subjects, just because he’ll probably do well in them.  That would be cheating.  And robbing him of reaching his full potential.

Because if I don’t push him, chances are that his final career options could be rather limited.

And a large portion of his day could be spent asking customers if they’d like fries with their meal?

Something I’d go to great lengths to avoid.

Though popping in to say “HI!” to my kid whilst getting take-aways at McDonalds or Kentucky over a weekend might be nice.  We might even get family/employer discounts.

And so as option B, it certainly has some merits too.

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