In the last article, I wrote about 4 reasons why parents force a particular career choice on their children. This article is to serve as a solution to the problem of forcing children to study a particular course of study. Let me start with an ancient aphorism which says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” It is not easy to nurture a child in this modern time, especially when society is filled with many challenges. The presence of ‘mixed cultures’ through globalization in various media platforms is not making things easy as millions of teenagers and youths are daily exposed to amoral ‘contents’ that are harmful to their overall well-being. Our once cherished cultural values are gradually dissipating before our very eyes. The news and social media outlets are daily awash with shocking events that are raising thoughts and questions in the minds of concerned parents and other stakeholders. These days, due to the level of advancement in the science and technology field, a teenager or youth can easily use the internet destructively but despite all these challenges, parents are still tasked with the responsibility of raising well-trained children for the benefit of the family, the community and the world at large.
In the course of raising children to adulthood within the society, some parents do engage in certain practices which are unhealthy for the personality and future of some of these children. For instance, some parents have encouraged their children to practice examination malpractices in certain critical examinations like WASSCE and UTME. Such practices, in the long run, will jeopardize the future of such a child and ultimately, the society at large. A student who ‘helped’ himself largely through examination malpractices to become a medical doctor will in no doubt become a quack doctor and such poses a serious risk to the larger populace. Another bad practice parents engage in towards their children’s academic or career development is forcing them to study a particular course in the higher institution, not minding whether such have personality or aptitude toward the course. A child who will naturally do well in music or in the entertainment industry has been forced to go study petroleum engineering or law. There are many students scattered across our various campuses today who are totally lost and frustrated as far as their course of study is concerned. Many had to unnecessarily endure the pain inherent in such courses just to satisfy their parents’ wish. Such children eventually graduate after wasting precious time and resources only to abandoned their certificates to either pursue their dreams or if they are unlucky as some, lost in the ‘market square of life’.
My aim is to advise parents through this article on what they could do to help their children in discovering themselves and pursuing their dreams than forcing their own choice of a career on them.
1. Help your children discover who they are. One critical role parents should play in the lives of their children is helping them discover who they are, and parents must make sure this is achieved as early as possible. Most teenagers and youths are confused about their personalities, choices, natural endowments, etc. Hence, parents must, therefore, ensure that from a tender age, steps are taking to know their children’s natural abilities in order to discover their career inclinations. No child is a biological accident as far as God is concerned. There is a purpose hanging over every child’s head… A child that enjoys talking and playing with everyone already shows that he or she is an extrovert with a possible love for people. It is natural such will flow well with a career that affords him or her to see or meet people on daily basis. He or she might even be a great public speaker in the making. A quiet child who loves to think and draw up pictures or fascinated with pictures may do well in Engineering, Architecture, Fine-art or photography. The one who always thinks and comes up with ‘ideas’ to do things differently in the house may be a future entrepreneur or administrator. The truth is, the signs are always there, but most times, parents ignore them. The society is programmed in a way that makes everyone to think of, and pursue certificates more than developing talents and skills. This only makes us overlook or disregard those ‘life’s purpose signs’. Practically, parents must take the following steps in guiding their children towards making a fulfilling career choice…
- Procure materials that enhance their knowledge in the various field of study for them. There are several career-related books, CDs, magazines, etc. that you can buy for your children. This will go a long way in preparing their minds ahead before making a choice later. I have written a book titled “Me and My Future Career” which and students have testified to being a source of enlightenment in clarifying their confusion, and helped them have a better understanding of themselves and their future career choice. You can click here to get an e-copy for your child. You could also order for copies in hundreds or thousands to distribute for students in schools or during youths conferences by youths or religious organizations.
- Encourage them to always attend career development seminars. There are several youth seminars and events on career and related topics organized periodically by NGOs, social entrepreneurs, and civic leaders. Parents would do well by encouraging their children to always be part of such events. It affords attendees to get to hear from experts and ask questions which might be troubling their minds. I do organize career, success and leadership seminars for teenagers and youths for schools, youth-based and religious organizations. You can invite me for one or sponsor it for any youth institution of your choice. Please click here to know more about my services.
- Engage the service of a Youth Coach. Parents can also subscribe for the service of an expert such as career counselors, youth or life coaches. Their inputs will go a long way in helping your children gain an understanding of themselves, clarify every confusion or fears they may have about a certain field of study or personality issues. You can also research on information from the internet to broaden your knowledge. Some parents are fond of approaching prophets or witch doctors to help them predict the future of their children. I would recommend you desist from such act as there are many fake prophets and wicked people out there. Exposing your children’s lives to such mediums may pose a serious spiritual danger to them in the future. Rather, approach God yourself in prayer if you must go the way of religion. You have the capacity to receive the same information you are seeking for, so far you have a relationship with God and with the commitment and discipline to maintain it.
- Pray for God’s guidance over your children. Parents must know that everyone including children are created for a purpose. Every child is a solution to a problem in this world. Malala Yousafzai is a teenage Pakistan activist for female education solving the problem of girl child education in her country. She was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 as the youngest ever! Zuriel Oduwole is also a fifteen year old teenage Nigerian-American girl who is a film maker and an advocate for girl education in Africa. She became the world’s youngest film maker at the age of 12! Through her works, she had met over 20 world presidents and prime ministers including President Buhari and Barack Obama. Her projects also took her to the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in the year 2016. Even within Nigeria, there are several teenagers and youths who are affecting their generation positively. There is Temitayo Kayode, a ten year old saxophonist, Emmanuella the comedienne, and Kelechi Iheanacho a promising young footballer in the English premier league. There are natural endowments deposited inside your children, pray to God to help them discover and unleash those abilities. The manufacturer always knows his products more than the consumer…the same goes with God, the creator of all beings. He knows us more than ourselves. Find time regularly to ask Him to show you and your children what He created them to do. It is in finding and doing God’s purpose that ultimately brings fulfillment, prosperity and success. Every other pursuit is tantamount to a waste of time.
In conclusion, raising children especially teenagers and youths in this current time demands a lot from parents. There are challenges that would always come in academics, career choice, peer pressure, health issues, character defect, relationship, etc. but despite all these, the onus still lies with parents to be there for their children. It is a responsibility they cannot transfer to anybody. Rather than acting as an authoritarian who demands compliance at all cost especially on future career choice of the children, it is better and more efficient to be cordial and pay a listening ear to such children. Many teenagers have complained to me about their parents trying to force them to do a particular course of study without considering their own interests. This is not the best way to handle young people, they are to be guided and supported even if they have chosen not to follow the status quo. Whatever might be their choice, whether it is fashion designing, comedy, military, teaching, music, engineering, photography, entrepreneurship, linguistic or even preaching, please encourage them.
It’s in the atmosphere of peace, trust and cordiality that parents get to discover whatever is disturbing the children and proffer reasonable solutions before it becomes an emergency.
‘Me and My Future Career’ book is primarily written for students in secondary schools, pre-university students (JAMB UTME, JUPEB candidates), undergraduates in various institutions of higher learning in order to help them find their career path early in life. Secondarily, it is good for career counselors, parents, and anybody interested in knowledge.
To get your e-copy which you can download and read on your smartphone, iPad and computer, just click here.
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You can also invite me for seminars and trainings for students and youths on different subjects in your school and other youths’ organizations. Click here