How Parents Can Help Children Find Their Callings In Life

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.

How to Bounce Back from Epic Parenting Fails

What is an example of an epic parenting fail? For me, that would be giving the wrong kind of advice. And it’s really easy to do that. As parents, we feel like we know everything even if no one told us anything. Right now, there are mothers at war on blogs, arguing about the best way to parent.

I’ve seen mothers curse babies on social media and say the F-word so many times, I’m wondering if this woman was ever going to be the parent of the year. I’d say that would be one epic parenting fail: Letting your child find out you were a social media monster. Other than that, however, there are much other parenting fails that we need to watch out for. These include:

Giving epic fail advice

I am guilty of doing this once when my teenage boy was still in elementary school. He was being bullied and I wasn’t going to be the mom who bullied a little boy back. So, I told my son to defend himself when this happens again. My mistake was not telling him how to do it. I was thinking along the lines of talking the other kid down, but my kid, from watching all those PG movies without my actual PG, ended up punching the kid. It was so wrong because the kid was verbally abusive, but never physical. So, my kid ended up being suspended. From that point on, I resolved to always teach my kids what to do exactly when faced with conflict – and to actually follow the PG guidelines for TV shows and movies. If you’re wondering how you have to discuss the movie or show with your child after so that he or she understands right from wrong and why things happened the way they did.

Saving my kid from failure

Why is this epic fail to parent you ask? Because I failed my kid by not letting her fail. It was during a science fair when my daughter was asked to create a perpetual motion machine. According to Google nobody could ever make a perpetual motion machine, but she tried. When I checked her project, it seemed that she wasn’t doing so well following the instructions on YouTube. So, I offered to help. What I ended up doing was finishing up the project for her while she watched other YouTube videos. When it was time to judge her project, the teacher knew right away that I was the one who made the project because I didn’t teach my kid about it. She was given an F. Not even a D for effort because let’s face it. There was no effort on her part on the final version. In order to prevent that from happening again, I resolved to teach instead of doing. I set examples and instead of telling my kids what to do (but sometimes I had to spell stuff out just for due diligence.)

Punishing my kids without explaining why

There are times when my kids do something bad and it turns out I’m in a really bad mood. When this happens, I forget that I should be teaching lessons instead of just punishing them. Dogs understand punishment like timeouts because it occurs immediately after doing something wrong. I don’t have to explain it to the dog because it doesn’t understand me.

With kids, however, it’s more complicated. Here’s an example. One time, my kids went out to buy something to eat and didn’t tell me. They thought it was okay because I wasn’t home. I was out on an errand. I was in a mood that day, I don’t remember why. But when I came home and I didn’t find them, I was furious. How dare they go out without telling me? I had never set a rule to leave notes yet and instead of worrying about them, I was seething about their lack of initiative. But they were kids. The initiative was still a learning curve for them. When they came home, I just yelled at them to go to their rooms. They looked confused and didn’t even get to eat their food. A week passed by and my kids were aloof with me. When I asked them about it, they said I yelled for no reason. That’s when I realized I didn’t give them a reason. Worse than that, I had no good reason to yell at them. What I should have done was calmed myself down, assessed the situation, and tried to find them. Instead, I was preparing to vent out my frustration on other things on them once they got home. Never again. If I have problems, my kids stay out of it unless they want to help. I don’t take it out on them and if they make a mistake, I always make sure they know what they did wrong and why the punishment fits the crime. By the way, I only punish them using grounding and timeouts.