My kids are about to go to college soon and when I asked them what they wanted to do in life, my youngest, a boy, said, “I want to be a basketball player.” He doesn’t even play varsity and never showed any interest in the game unless it was on television. My eldest, a girl, said, “I want to be a doctor. I think.” I would have been proud, but the words, “I think” probably meant that she just wanted me to hear her say that.

After a while, I sat them down and talked to them about the future. We discussed the possibilities of majors in colleges and career paths they could take. We did some research to see how the job market was doing. Although I was the only one who understood it, I explained to them that many jobs only hire people who are actually qualified and passionate about the company.

For a teenager, this is difficult to comprehend because all they can think about right now is social media and trying to rebel against me and my husband (which they spectacularly fail at every time.) So, I told them, when you’re in college you have to decide what you want to do. But for now, we can talk about what you may want to do in the future.

Finding Their Calling

I didn’t want to pressure my kids, but I did want them to think about what they want to do in the future, even for just a night. In order to help them find their calling, we did some imaginative exercises and role-playing to give them an idea of what it’s like in the real world. So here’s what we did:

I asked them what they loved doing and the answer should be something that helped people.

My daughter said that she liked it when people thanked her for advice on her blog about studying in high school. I didn’t even know she had a blog and she still won’t tell me what the website is. So, I told her, maybe you’d like to be a writer someday. She seemed to like that.

My son said that he liked tutoring his fellow classmates on mathematics subjects after school. So, I told him, maybe he’d like to be a teacher someday. Even if they were given two options, I felt that was enough to give them an idea that they could choose any career they want as long as it made them happy.

We imagined scenarios once they were out of the house and living on their own.

I told my kids about the ups and downs of living out of our house because it’s something they may have to do one day. I’d love for them to stay as long as possible, but I know that it’s best for them to learn how to become independent.

I gave them advice on how to save, pay rent, and live on a budget. I also told them how difficult it will be to find a job, but that they will find one immediately or eventually. Being honest with them made me feel relieved, but I didn’t want to scare them. I just wanted them to know what it would be like once they were living off their own salary. That way, they’ll have the motivation they need to find a good job that they love and one that they’ll work hard at.

I gave them one final advice.

Do your best. Whatever it is they want to do, I’ll support them (as long as it’s legal.) If they go out and do their best, their calling will come to them. It’s not just about the search for what they are meant to do. It’s about the journey and how they will achieve it.

How did you discuss career and callings with your kids? Would you be willing to try my methods? Tell me your stories as well.