I came across these powerful words on Facebook the other day, and thought it would be worthwhile to share. I’ve always been focused on living life in a way that fulfills my purpose, while also engaging in things that I’m passionate about. It may not always be possible to connect your vocation to your passion, but I believe that this is a goal we should all strive for. Achieving this goal may require you to make difficult changes, and you may not always have the support of the people in your inner circle. But sometimes you have to trust in yourself, and make a leap of faith. Once you get to a place where your passion is directly connected to how you make a living, you’ll never want to go back.
When I was a kid I would always ask my father numerous questions about why things were the way they were. “Why did you do that?” “Where are you going?” Why did you name me Isaac?” The list of questions was endless as I had, and still have, an insanely inquisitive mind. Despite the seriousness in my voice when asking questions, my father would always jokingly reply, “Because ‘y’ has a long tail!” We would both laugh hysterically and my question would go unanswered. I guess this was his way of temporarily quelling my thirst for knowledge. As an adult I still wonder about various things as if I were a child all over again and pose questions to myself. Instead of getting my father’s canned response, I often answer my own question by stating “That’s just the way it is.” Just as in my childhood, I’ve never been satisfied with this response.
It’s funny how we as people can live our lives following traditional paths. As children, most of us were taught to pursue education and eventually a career. Being the well-behaved children we were, we pushed hard through high school and college to land the treasured JOB. Well, I can’t speak for everyone but that’s what I did, largely without questioning. There are many people that took non-traditional routes to achieve their dreams. Some of them succeeded, but many more are as lost as they were the day they began their life pursuit. Those who ventured down the road less trodden were deemed risk-takers by the masses.
Now that it’s my turn to be a parent, I intend to teach my son to be very inquisitive, and question everything. As annoying as it may be for me, I want him to realize that the path others have defined for him doesn’t have the be the path he chooses to follow. Instead of blindly focusing on goals others set for you, the better approach would be to ask why and then focus on determining the path you should follow. Adhering to my parent’s advice led me down that path where I could achieve success. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have been successful by going against the grain and blazing my own trail.
“What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?” This is a common question posed to youth across the globe. The popular career paths are always given as a response…doctor, lawyer, teacher, police officer, fire fighter, etc. At a young age, can children really answer this question? Many of use choose our career paths based on the influences in our lives. If there is a particular family member we admired along the way, then we tend to follow in their footsteps. Sometimes career choices are driven by the parent’s desire for their children to have a stable job and make a decent living. The career choices we make end up being a good fit for some and a not so good fit for others. To help ensure that youth pursue the optimal career paths, here are several things adults can do: 1) Determine the child’s interests, 2) Expose them to various things, 3) Understand their personality types and behavioral characteristics, 4) Know or find out what it takes to be successful in various careers, and 5) Ensure the child has the prerequisites to compete and achieve.
When I was a child, my parents noticed that I was very curious by nature. I wanted to know anything about everything and asked a million questions. For a parent, I’m sure a constantly inquisitive child could become very annoying. My mother, being formally trained as a social worker, had the brilliant idea of giving me various sources of information to digest. I remember this green box she ordered from some magazine. It was shaped like a lunch box and contained over 1000 different animal fact cards. Each card had a picture of an animal with the scientific name and other facts on the back. I would spend hours reading each fact card and even carried the green box to school to share with friends. Along the way the box became a distant memory, but at the time it was one of my prized possessions. A few years later my parents ordered a set of World Book encyclopedias for my siblings and me. I was astonished at the wealth of information contained in each book and was determined to read them cover to cover. I never achieved that goal but became a walking, talking knowledge bank in the process. What I didn’t realize as a child was that my parents were trying to understand what interested me. This would help guide them in the various things they would expose me to.
It has been often said that people are products of their environment. I’m sure somewhere science has proven this statement to be true. If you look across America, there are endless examples of this. Take the kid who grows up in the crime-ridden, drug-infested neighborhood and sees the criminal living a lavish lifestyle. In some cases the kid observes the criminal’s lifestyle and aspires to peddle drugs as well. What about the kid who observed their parents running a family-owned business as a child that grows up to become a successful entrepreneur? These stories are common across the country and further confirm the previously mentioned statement. It is known that for many, perception determines reality. In regards to youth, what they are exposed to helps them develop a vision of what they can become as adults. So when parents ask their children the question about who they want to become as adults, they must also consider what they are exposing their children to and how environmental factors will influence their child’s decision.