Parenting: helping kids find their calling

This article describes four key points about helping your kids find their calling in life. The author’s perspective aligns in some ways with that of a Brainspotting therapist – a Brainspotting therapist stays in the tail of the comet during the session, while the client act as the comet by leading the way to healing. In the same way, the parent is there to support their child in helping them develop their own interests and working together to find new opportunities to test and refine these interests.

“Children feel powerless. You think you get told what to do a lot at the office? That’s nothing compared to what children experience. They get told what to do 24/7. They can start to feel they have no control and what they do doesn’t matter.”

“They need to know this will change. They will be able to make a difference. In fact, they will be called on to make a difference. And if they don’t make a difference somewhere to someone, life isn’t going to feel very meaningful. Their actions matter and they will matter more and more with each passing year.”

Young college graduates today are “not joining adult life. They’re delaying being a spouse, a parent, a citizen or a worker. And often after graduating from college, they just return home, better educated but no more certain about what they want to do with their life. Hira cites a survey of American college students from 2000 through 2006 showing that almost two thirds of the graduates moved home after college and over half of these stayed for more than a year. Others drop out, jump from career to career or end up notably underemployed. This is tough on the world, but more importantly it’s tough on kids, making happiness and success far harder to achieve.”

“This is how to help your kids find their calling in life:

  • Fan the flames: You’re the follower, not the leader. The cheerleader, not the quarterback. Present possibilities, listen and encourage.
  • Convey the meaning you get from your work: You don’t want the only thing they hear to be ‘Daddy and mommy live lives of Sisyphean torment in exchange for green rectangles.’
  • Introduce them to mentors: You don’t have to be Yoda. You just have to help them find their Yoda.
  • Encourage an entrepreneurial attitude: As long as they have parental supervision, nudge them closer to a default of ‘Let’s test it and see what happens.‘”

I often counseling to young adults and to parents of young adults; I also provide career counseling to help launch young adults into careers of their choice.