This is a big week for children who live in my parish of St. Charles. On Thursday, the eighth of August, children will return to school. In many other cities across our nation school will start sometime this month. If we as parents have several emotions about school starting, just think of what the children must be feeling.
Some children will be excited to return to the friends they’ve missed during the summer break. Some will be nervous about the unknown. Some children will be leaving for school for the very first time. No matter what is going on let’s all remember the larger picture.
We all know that school is important for educating our children for employment skills. However, sometimes we forget the importance of life skills that our children will also be learning. The obvious skills of getting along with others (peers as well as those of authority), following rules, following direction, and proper etiquette. The importance of punctuality and proper dress code.
Then the less obvious for some of us is the children learning on who they are. What makes them special? What do they enjoy the most and the least? These are very important factors that will help them find the right career path in the future. It’s equally important for us to notice that and help guide them in the best direction for them.
It can be difficult because we dream of them going to college and becoming doctors, lawyers, maybe an athlete but what if that isn’t what makes them happy? Could you as a parent accept the musician, artist, or entrepreneur?
It’s our job to raise our children to be happy but being happy doesn’t come from how much money you make or what degree you have. It comes from the feeling of doing what makes you feel good while helping others. Imagine a world where everyone was a doctor, lawyer, teacher, architect or engineer. There’s no music or movies to take us away for a moment. Those songs and movies need writers and performers. In order for us to enjoy them, the performers need to be good. The performers need good writers and other technical staff.
In order for our cars and electronics to work, we need mechanics and technicians. For health and safety, we need someone to pick up our trash, cut the grass for the parks we enjoy. We need cashiers, truck drivers, and sometimes help with housework. In order for people to do these jobs efficiently, they need to like what they do.
So, yes encourage your children to dream big but understand what that is to them. So, they want to cut grass, encourage them to have their own lawn care service. They want to repair vehicles, encourage them to have their own shop. It doesn’t mean they will do it immediately but it can be a future goal. It’s good to start at the bottom and work your way up. We also need to understand maybe they don’t want the pressure of owning a business and that’s okay also.
The most important thing to teach your child is that whatever it is they choose to do they do their very best. Whatever they do, they do it honestly. Let’s stop teaching children that it’s the amount of money that you make or the degree that you have that makes you important or happy.
Let’s teach them that being together during the holidays or any other time is more special than possessions. There was a study done recently that found those who travel are happier than those with large homes and fancy cars. Maybe that’s because we do most of our traveling with family and friends. Making memories with loved ones brings happiness, not the possessions we own.
So, as our children begin school this year let’s start fresh. Teach them to find and own what makes them unique. Let’s guide them toward what makes them happy, not us. Let’s imagine our child with a career who enjoys getting up every day to go to work because they love what they do and they do it well.