As my children were getting older and beginning to find themselves in school and think about what they enjoyed doing, I began to have some parental fears about where they would be in the workplace in the future.
My grandparents came to this country and were able to make a good life. My parents then improved upon the lives of their parents. I followed the plan - - and I don't take a lot of credit for following the same plan that we all did -- by going to college (and getting in to a good school wasn't nearly as hard as it was for my kids) and then getting a job (which also didn't seem that hard). And we built a better life. Perhaps I can take some credit for some of my success after entering the workforce, but clearly not much before that.
As I looked at the world that was evolving, I began to feel that there wasn't the same kind of plan for my kids that I had. The marketplace was global. Jobs were going to be harder to find. High school was stress causing because of all the activities and getting into a "good" college. College was about resumes and networking and the jobs that might come. It just didn't seem the same.
Bottom line - it wasn't clear to me that they were going to have a "better life" than me. Of course, this is using old definitions and thinking about money and other measures of success. Wrong, wrong. For years we have emphasized to our children that they should do what they like and ensure that they were happy in what they did. Those are the measurements - no more.
My son is in Senegal in the Peace Corps getting quite the experience, while my wife and I had our revelation in truly understanding needs vs. wants when we visited him. He is happy. My daughter has found her passion and is at college studying Media and Communications and has done some incredible things on the radio already both at school, where she runs the radio station, and even on the local NPR station.
No credit to take here - just a wish that they are always happy in whatever they pursue.
I hope they continue to follow their passions