A couple success stories. You don’t have to “follow the crowd/ fit the mold”.
Two of my kids. They’re not yet “done” (are any of us?), but well on their way!
We have Peter, 20. Let’s see, in the last month he has gone away for a week to a 4H program where he and 30 other young adults (16-20) learned and rehearsed a show. Came home for a week, tehn went back to the State fair for 14 days to perform this show 3-4 times daily. He didn’t get paid for this, but all his expenses for both trips (food, lodging, a “night out on the town” ) were all paid for — I think, maybe they had to chip in something like $100. And spent some awesome time with terrific young people- winners!
He came home from fair, slept about 2 days. Then stopped in at McDonald’s where he used to work. First thing they said was, “Do you want your job back?” He liked working there, but when he said he wanted a higher wage (like $11/hour) they said they couldn’t do it. The managers and owners wanted to, but “corporate policy” wouldn’t allow it. So Peter said, “It’s been fun, but so long.” He called another old boss and will be working construction for a month, then he will head off to a monastery for discernment about becoming a brother.
All his jobs (except the “traditional” one at McDonald’s have allowed him to work as he desires. So he’s had time to do things like take a week plus and “work” as manager of the 4H food stand at the fair (more for fun than income).
Peter has had lots of people tell him he needs a “real” job, he needs to go to college, etc. (Mom and Dad do NOT say this- we see Peter as quite successful.) Peter looks at them and thinks: I have no debt, I have about $4000 in savings, I have about 5 people who’d hire me in a second if I asked them to, I can do what I want when I want (like go to the monastery), I’m happy. WHY do I need “college” and a “real” job?
We have Anne, 18. She’s in her 2nd year of college. She just posted on facebook that’s he got a raise at her “favorite” job (she has 3 jobs, by choice.) She gets $10/hour to work at Community Education at a rock climbing gym (she belays), and to take people out canoeing, kayaking and sometimes geocaching. When things are slow, she sits in the sunshine and reads her book. All of her jobs are also ones where she can work pretty much when she wants. So this summer she went to New York with her choir and sang at Lincoln Center (mostly paid for by school), took another trip with a friend to Tennessee. She’s also in demand as an employee. And has no debt (nor is acquiring school debt- college is free as she is still considered a high school senior and the state pays for it all), and more than a few thousand in savings. She knows who she is, what she believes, and how to stand up for herself. Yeah, right, she needs a “real” job, like Peter!
Some folks go the “traditional route” and that’s fine. But you can be happy and a success without doing that, if you want. Just as important as any academic skills are good character traits like dependability, integrity, MANNERS (amazing how many people lack plain simple manners), and more.
How and why did my kids end up like this? I certainly am not taking credit, but do think my husband and I may have had some influence. John has worked his own business for over 35 years. While I wouldn’t call us wealthy, he has been able to support a wife and 7 children over those decades. We get what we want and need, including what a lot might consider “extras” (like a trip to Hawaii, family cruise vacation, and more). I’ve never had to work outside the home. We’re debt free, including out home and 5 acres.
John works hard, but also has freedom to do as he likes. If he and I take two weeks to go to Hawaii, we can. He has no boss besides himself. He’s home 95% of the time. So the kids see dad providing well for his family, yet not being tied into an “employer” and someone else telling him what he has to do and when. We’ve always encouraged the kids to work hard, but do what THEY want to do.
We’ve home schooled all of them from K-12 and been careful who/ what they were exposed to. We’ve never told them they had to get “real” jobs, we’ve encouraged all kinds of alternatives (though there is nothing wrong with a “real” job if you want it).
My point is not to brag, as I said, I’m not taking credit. My point is to illustrate that kids/ young adults can do well outside the “system” and thrive. Give them a chance, encourage that if you can.