We’re currently up in Michigan with family. Less writing for me has meant more time with people I love for the past couple of days.
Yesterday we went to my parents’ church. The service was really good. Meaningful, worshipful, full of the kind of thing where you then want to go off by yourself and do some serious reflecting. Or at least that’s how I felt.
The basic premise was focusing our lives on what matters. What matters in the end of our story should guide how we live today and tomorrow. If we live with the end in sight than we will make sure our days today aren’t wasted.
My girls response when they got out to the car was…”Mom, would it be a big deal if after high school I took a year off before going to college just to try and figure out what I might want to really do?” I say “I” but both chimed in on the same thought.
I assured them that yes…this was doable. I tried to talk to them about ways in which they might right now have some opportunity while in high school to pursue some ideas and directions, but ultimately I told them if a year off was spent intentionally trying to figure out what direction in which to go I would be ok with it.
I think with giving them so many options and talking to them long and deep about how important it is to do what you love and to live with meaning and freedom I’ve made the choices to make more difficult. They’re having to wrestle more with their life’s direction instead of just jumping on the train like everybody else.
Yesterday, when I talked with my sister we talked about how back in our day and age, for a woman, there really seemed to be only a few go to career paths, especially if you wanted to have a family. Teaching was the go to.
My girls in watching me and living with me have realized that living out your story in freedom and in passion, doing what God made you to do is essential. They have no desire to go to college, choose a major and then pay the thousands of dollars only to come out realizing they didn’t know themselves well enough to even make a decision.
I’m not saying this would be true for all kids. Many, seem to have a clear sense of what they want to do. But for mine, they don’t.
So…not only are we homeschooling…but there might be a chance that my girls even take different routes after that. Thanks Pastor Phil :). Just kidding. Actually, I’m a very counter culture person these days and I don’t think going directly to college after high school is in the best interest of every single person on the face of the earth.
I think they’re being prepped well for the storyline conference we’re going to in October.
I love the way they are giving thought to their story. Not in a way where there is a magic path called “God’s will”. That was the terminology of my generation and we all spent great amounts of time trying to figure out “God’s will” as if there was only one way in which we could go. No instead…I think it’s about knowing ourselves well enough to know what causes us to come alive, what brings joy, what brings peace. It’s about knowing what matters to us and then structuring everything else around that.
I’m going to tell you something radical. I’m not sure that means college for every person. I’ve studied my girls their entire lives and I’m not completely sure what “majors” and career paths would be right for them. I want them to be open. I want them to be free. I want them to pursue passion.
My sister and I talked yesterday and she said “I wish I would’ve pursued a “Vocal performance” major when I was in college. It was seen as unrealistic at the time. I mean, how are you going to get a paying job doing THAT?!? But even now in our late 40’s that desire remains. I realize now…she should’ve. She should’ve been free to pursue her passion, who knows where it might have led. That doesn’t mean that she has had a bad life. But it does mean that she sacrificed something special in order to live the American dream. God redeems it all and she is living a good life, but I heard the message.
Our kids need to really be free to be who God made them to be. They need to be able to pursue a few things that might seem “unrealistic” in order that they might have work that they are deeply passionate about.
Because of my perspective on work and how it’s effected my life this is a core value for me for my kids.
So how do we help our kids process this kind of thing and to make wise choices? That’s what I’m wondering today and have for a long time now. I have a hard enough time figuring out what matters to me and how I want to live my life, let alone guiding my kids through the process.
What have you found with your children? Did you just send your kids to college after high school hoping they would land on the right area of study? Were you counting on college to be the place where they would find a mate? Have your children taken different routes? Are your children working and living in areas of passion or just doing a job? How do you feel about this?
I know many feel that you just need to get a job and make money and if you don’t enjoy your work or feel passionate about it, well just suck it up. Is that good enough for your kids?
I find with my two girls they are so incredibly unique and made with such intricate detail and experiences, passions and dreams, it matters to me that they reach their true potential. It matters to me that they embrace each day and live it to the full. Some would argue that you can do that anywhere at anytime. Yes…I think so to a degree. But I think it makes all the difference when you know yourself well enough to head in the right direction to start off with.
Nothing like getting out of college with a degree and a student loan only to discover the disillusionment of being in a career you don’t feel passionate about. And then finding yourself stuck for the next 30 plus years.
So…who knows…a year off after high school might happen. The irony,..when we first started to do homeschooling I was ready to fast track my girls and have them start community college their junior and senior years. It might still happen…but it doesn’t seem as big of a priority at this point.
They don’t have to fit a cookie cutter mold. I’m trying to look at the end of the story and work back from there to focus on what really matters.