When it comes to your children’s career development the best advice I can offer is this:
Watch for the spark.
This is a concept I picked up from a TED Talk by Jane Andraka years ago.
It is the idea that you watch for your child’s face to light up when she or he talks about a topic, an activity, and interest or a subject she or he finds fascinating.
Take note when it shows up.
Don’t act upon it right away. Simply take a mental note. Maybe your child isn’t ready to share it with you and the world just yet.
Look for patterns that clarify it and when your child is ready and open to talk about it, help them find the words to articulate it.
Look for opportunities to gently invite your child to learn more about it – whatever it might be, in whatever form it might take.
Introduce your child to how this ‘interest’ shows up in the world of work. Explore it together.
Find resources together, learn about it together, watch it in action.
Don’t limit your child to what you think is possible. Remind yourself that anything is possible.
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If you feel your child is never going to be a superstar athlete, don’t rule out sports just because you don’t have the vision to recognize that your child has the innate talents and abilities to become one of the top sports coaches in history; and this interest in sports is the foundation of his or her success.
If your child is introverted and shy, don’t rule out film and television careers because you don’t have the vision to recognize that your child has a keen interest in writing, producing and directing that will one day win him or her an Oscar.
If your child is strong in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM subjects), don’t push him or her to engineering because you feel engineering is a good, stable job that will make you worry less in the future about their financial well-being. Many of these engineers wind up having mid-life crisis unable to understand why they’re not happy and too scared to leave a good-paying job (geez, where did that idea come from?)
Instead, just watch for the spark. Encourage your children to explore and expand their knowledge about the thing that ‘lights them up.’
As parents, we can not know with any certainty what the future holds for our children; our job is to simply prepare them for a happy one.
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Watch for the spark. Enjoy the show.
Related Categories: Career Clarity, Students & Parents
About The Author
Maureen McCann is an award-winning career coach, master resume writer, and master certified interview, employment, and career strategist whose clients include C-level executives, managers, and professionals in all industries including the Canadian banking, oil and gas, healthcare, IT, and government sectors.