One of the most difficult choices any person will make during their time on earth would be whether they will have another donut, especially if they already had three. Another difficult decision is the choice of a career. Choosing something that will ensure we earn enough money to pay for socks and wine, but also prevent us from suffering from homicidal tendencies three years later because we hate our
boss job. What makes this decision even worse is the fact that society expects kids, at the tender age of 18, to make this life changing choice, simply because that’s when they finish school and has to move onto something bigger. And more expensive.
Back in the day when I was 18 and music were great and men still hid from dinosaurs (as per my kids), I had limited options. Not because I’m stupid but because I simply didn’t know better. My exposure to jobs were confined to those which existed in my neighborhood. So I became an engineer. And hated every minute of it.
In order to prevent Dude and Princess from making similar semi-disastrous life choices, we’ve spend countless hours talking to them on things that might interest them. We probed (in a legal way of course) and challenged and asked them what they would want to be when they grow up. What would they do for free? Their choices ranged from a superhero for him and an actress for her when they were small, to “whatever you’re doing dad” for him and “a teacher like mom” for her, as they grew a little older.
Now we’ve reached the waterfall. The lazy river ride is behind us and it’s time to buckle up and brace ourselves for the proverbial brown stuff to hit the turning device meant for cooling. Dude has 18 months of school left before he has to enter the great big world as a student of something or another. This is challenging as most teenagers don’t even know what they want for dinner, never mind what they want to do with the rest of their lives.
Being who we are, we took him to a career counselor. It’s a person who makes a living by charging parents a small fortune to psycho analyze their kid for three hours and then spend another hour telling you things about them you already know. He also recommends career choices based on intelligence, interests, personality and study habits. I have to admit the best part of this session is when a third party tells your son something you’ve been telling him for centuries, something he always choose to ignore. It’s a very special moment for any parent, even if Wife doesn’t want me to use the “I told you so” card.
I’m downplaying the importance of the process because the professor did break some new ground and opened Dude’s mind to choices he didn’t really consider prior to the consultation. Even though it wasn’t a complete home-run because the guy didn’t reference Dude’s dream job which would probably be staying at home, playing games with his mates, and a genie on hand to serve their every wish and desire…
Dude is super intelligent but that’s no surprise as he takes after me. He also suffers from a condition that prevents the desire to study from entering conscious thought. Another condition that seems to be relatively common among teenage boys. The marks he’s getting in school is probably attributed to his ability to bribe teachers with a smile and good conversation.
We’re grateful for being in a position to provide some guidance for our kids in this very important but tough decision we all have to make one day. I’m grateful that he has the ability to do most of the things he wants to. I’m grateful that he is excited about his future.
I’m not grateful for the second bond I need to pay for tuition and I’m certainly NOT grateful for this counselling session being a vicious reminder as to how little time we have with Dude in our house. (That last part is excruciatingly painful.)
The good news is that it turns out he doesn’t have to stay at home forever, and he has a few options besides the obvious engineer, professional gamer and/or pimp.