How do I Help My Child Choose the Right Career?
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly my children are growing up and how diverse their topics of conversation have become. Both Simon and Sophie are now in the “I want to be a _____________ when I grow up” stage. Simon has been pretty consistent with what boys say at 6 years of age: fireman, policeman, construction worker. On the other hand, Sophie has determined that she is going to be a professional artist, build a shed in the backyard for her art and stay with my wife and me forever. What I find fascinating is that children want “to become” what they are exposed to and find interesting. This is really important to reflect on. What I do and expose my children to will eventually shape their character, personal and career choices. My job as a parent is to help them develop into the persons that they are supposed to become through God’s guidance. So often I have seen parents push their children into careers and choices that are not what the children want, even though these choices might be positive, like medical school, education or law.
The question arises: how do I help my child choice the right career? Proverbs 16:3 provides a good place to start thinking about that conversation. The first part of the verse says to “commit your work to the Lord.” We all have work to do in this world. All of us have been gifted in some way — academics, counseling, business, trades, etc. What we have to do is to determine who we are working for? Are we choosing a career to best serve our own interests or to advance God’s kingdom? Not everyone is called to or should serve in Ministry or the mission field, but we can all commit our work to the Lord. This could be serving others, using our talents, time or income to support others or people in need. By committing our work to the Lord, God will “establish” our plans. When we choose to honour God with the talents that He has given us, He will help us to achieve our aims because they are in His interests.
So what does all of this mean in terms of helping your child choose the right career? I am reminded of a quote I heard several years ago in a sermon; it has stuck with me ever since. “Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved .” When my children talk about what they want to be when they grow up, I simple asked them: What is the most important thing in life? They respond: to love God. So if you want to be a ___________, as long as it honours God, it is good. As much as I want my children to enter careers that will make them successful and financially sound, it is more important to keep God at the center of the conversation. More and more, I am discovering that my job as a parent isn’t so much telling them what they should be, but rather helping them become the persons that God intended them to be. As my children get older, I hope to highlight the talents and abilities that God has given them and to explore how they can use those gifts to choose a path that is personally fulfilling and God honouring.