🥓What motivates you to get up in the morning? Playing on your PS4. Cheerleading practice. The virtual school bell. Bacon. Your father.
The motivation to apply for college may not have the same urgency because it seems so far down the road.
As you prepare to enter the future workforce, Ken Costa, author of Know Your Why, reminds us that we are called to worship God in every area of our lives.
He writes that we need "to make our workstations our worship stations." 🛐
Most high school students are not thinking about this marketplace ministry mindset sitting in their classrooms. Even as followers of Jesus.
For those students, it's simply about graduating high school, being accepted to a college, and finding a way to pay for their education.
Let's stop and think about Costa's three reasons why people work. Which group you see yourselves in right now?
💰 Some want to work for cash – to make ends meet.
💼 Some want to work for a career – to move up a ladder.
🤝🏻 Some want to work for a cause – to make a difference.
For the majority of adult workers, I would believe that cash is the motivating factor.
My high school junior is focused on cash. Apparently, he needs another pair of sneakers!
As you research your careers and colleges, which motivating factor (cash, career, cause) is informing your decisions?
When deciding on a major for your career, you need to know your why. Developing your vocational calling - the type of work God has created you to do in the marketplace - will make that decision easier.
Also, college admissions officers know you have "passion" for your chosen field. Is that enough to set you apart? Is that enough to motivate you to "work for the Lord" (Colossians 3:23)? Is that your why?
Know that God wants the best for you - plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope, plans to give you a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Not to flounder without motivation.
🤷♂️ As you think about what motivates you to work, what conversations do you need to have with parents, teachers, mentors, or advisors to help you shift the focus to your calling?
When you think of energy do you think of that pink rabbit endlessly playing the bass drum?
Or how about a Jack Russell Terrier? Described as a charming, affectionate and lively dog that is also a handful to train and manage. And don’t try to cage a Jack Russell. He’ll bust through those wires and wreak havoc on your living room. (So I’ve heard.)
To help you identify your passion, you need to think about what energizes you. Quickly make a list of a few things that you never get tired of doing.
What gets you up in the morning?
What keeps you up at night?
Where do you focus your boundless energy?
When you identify what energizes your life, you’ll find the keys that unlock and identify your passion.
You also need to think about out what or who drains your energy. Does that environment, person, or situation slow you down and put you in a cage? Find ways to eliminate those “energy vampires” (as Jon Gordon calls them). Doing so will free you to do your best work.
Additionally, realizing what changes you want to make in your life can give you insights into your passion. In a blog about traits that accelerate your influence at work, Forbes contributor Glenn Llopis wrote that “passion is what fuels your intention and strategies for creating change.”
Glenn encourages us to talk about what excites us most with others. It may open doors of opportunity within your circle of influence at your church or in your community. He wrote, “your passion defines the magnitude of the impact you seek to create.”
What are you seeking to create?
Energize your life today!
Experiencing life helps teenagers focus their energy and identify their passion.
You can narrow down your career choices while practicing physical distancing by volunteering remotely, earning online certifications, developing a hobby, learning a skill, or getting a part-time job in industries that energize you.
Experience gives you opportunities to fail in a safe environment while you develop transferable skills.
Perhaps you have an answer when asked “what do you love to do?”
I love to fish. I love to draw. I love to code. I love to play basketball. I love it when I win the Battle Royale.
In his book, “Reset: How to get paid and love what you do,” author Dustin Peterson asks the reader to dig deeper. He asks, “what do you love about what you love to do?” Finding those answers will reveal the talent that drives your passion which leads to transferable skills for you to develop. It may take time for you to really develop your skills before getting noticed.
Here are three simple ways to gain experience:
The first way to gain experience is to EARN.
Earn a paycheck at a part-time job doing work. Yes, work. Mowing lawns, filling orders, bagging groceries, or stocking shelves will teach you many skills and disciplines that you can apply anywhere.
Earn certifications in coding, accounting, Microsoft Office, or other skilled areas.
Earn micro-credentials from local colleges.
Jennifer Tardy encourages us to “keep thinking about your career path and think about what skills you have today that are transferable to another industry.”
The second way to gain experience is to LEARN.
Learn from webinars, masterclasses, and Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs). Visit Class Central for list of all free and paid MOOCs.
Learn from reading magazines and lots and lots of books.
The third way to gain experience is to INTERN.
Unfortunately, 34% of summer internships have been cut or cancelled because of Covid-19.
So you’ll need to network to find projects or online volunteer options. Visit local job boards, LinkedIn, or state workforce websites for opportunities.
If you are at least 16 years old, set up your LinkedIn and social media profiles. I would encourage you to take the social media course through Social Assurity (save $250 using the coupon code BRETT2020 when you check out). Know that 36% of admissions officers view college applicants’ social media and 32% said what they found had a negative impact (Kaplan Survey).
Whether you earn, learn, or intern, remember that what you know is not as important as what you’ve learned. While a degree will open the door, your skills will help you soar.
Experience life today!
Everyone wants to enjoy life.
You are in a place where you are free to create life exactly the way you want, with no constraints or limitations.
When you realize what you enjoy about life, it will help you identify your passion.
Pay attention to what you spend your time doing, reading, talking, and thinking about. Take inventory on your hobbies, friendships, and above experiences.
Some of your passions will not turn into a career. You may be a volunteer coach or mentor. You may write lines of poetry to relieve stress. You may draw simply because it makes you smile.
Enjoy life today!
As you add up what energizes you, your experiences, and what you enjoy, you eventually turn your passion into a career.
Addressing the impact of coronavirus on the economy, The New Yorker published a story about Kelly Bates, “a forty-one-year-old single mom who lives with her nine-year-old daughter a middle-income neighborhood of aging red-brick row houses a few miles from the Philadelphia airport.”
While working as an assistant director at a chain of local child-care centers, she is also earning her bachelor’s degree in early-childhood education. She said that, “Babies are my passion. I’m part mom, part dad, part therapist, part doctor, and part food-program officer.”
BEFORE YOU GO
Do you think your passion could be your higher calling?
Don’t be like Alice in Wonderland asking for directions on where to go but not caring where she went. Register for my FREE WEBINAR on how to connect fast growing careers to God's calling on your life!
And remember, “All things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
In the previous blog, I started sharing three tips to help you break through the walls and obstacles in your life that could be preventing you from accomplishing your goals. Once you are ready to forget your life, you’ll be prepared to finish the race and focus on the task.
FINISH THE RACE
Many of us are good at starting things. We start projects...
We start digital scrapbooks...
We start running…
We start movie subscription services...
We start college…
We start cooking…
But we don’t finish.
It took years of running marathons before my friend Mike qualified for the Boston Marathon. After starting strong with 7-minute per mile pace, his glycogen depleted while negative thoughts and fatigue filled his mind and body. But he was determined to push through mile 18 and mile 19 because he didn’t come this far to drop out of the Boston Marathon. Before Mike could finish, he had to start.
One way to stay in the race is to start. Mike started with 5Ks before running marathons.
In a post for CrusherTV, a program to help people with ADHD conquer procrastination, Alan Brown wrote:
“Think back to Dr. Neil Fiore’s wise advice (not to worry about finishing – and instead, setting a time to just start). This is itself a great procrastination hack. But it’s not always so easy to “just start” when there’s a powerful sense of overwhelm and dread; or when we’re reluctant to begin because we know we’ll just get bogged down soon after starting; or when we just don’t know where to start.
Hack #2 solves this. It is simply to give yourself permission to fail.
That’s right. Drop all expectations of any success, let alone finishing. The only thing you need to do is start, with no demand on yourself other than to give it a few minutes’ effort.
If you start and bang away for 45 seconds then give up? That’s a victory. If you re-start and bang away for 5 more minutes but then get stuck? Victory! Twelve minutes? VICTORY!!”
At the beginning of a semester, it’s okay to try different clubs, activities, and sit in on classes. Eventually, you need to finish starting and start finishing. You start finishing by making and keeping commitments to others and to yourselves.
Another way to stay in the race is to finish. Beth Main shared tips on “How to Finish What You Start.” For people with ADHD or ADD, “keeping a mental to-do list just doesn't work. It takes up brain bandwidth you could be using for other things. You forget stuff, and then remember while you're in the middle of doing something else.” People who are impulsive can be stressful themselves and others. Main recommends “detailed planning” to stay on task.
Work with your admissions officer, advisor, or professor to create a course of action for your major. Review your plan at the end of each semester, quarter, or block and make necessary adjustments.
At Spalding University (Louisville, KY), their block scheduling allows students to take one or two classes every six weeks, with one week between blocks. This allows athletes to take one class while focusing on their sport and students with learning disabilities to focus on a few concentrated classes instead of four and a lab for sixteen weeks.
Work with a college pastor or spiritual mentor to grow deeper in your faith while away at college. Too many students quit following Jesus because their faith was shallow – like seeds tossed on a sidewalk.
Develop a habit of praying, reading and studying the Bible, serving others, discipling others, and worshiping God with a local church.
And don’t procrastinate until Christmas. The first six weeks of the new school year is formative to your success. Beth Main shared two reasons why we put things off: “disorganization — you aren't clear on what you need to do — and disinterest — you don't feel like doing it.” Be creative and implement personal rewards and consequences each semester. Celebrate small successes to help you remain committed to finish the race.
If you are not committed to Christ, any obstacle or hill or crisis can knock you out of the race. During the 2006 Winter Olympics, snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis lost the cross-country gold when she fell – showboating or "snow"boating – on the last hill. The one thing Paul wanted to do was finish the race. Your life matters to God. So even when the course is difficult, finish the race by continuing to grow in your faith, honor God, and serve others.
Dr. Martin Luther King said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.” The first step to finishing the race is taking the first step. And Paul is confident “that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
FOCUS ON THE TASK
Despite the obstacles, Paul remained focused. He wanted to complete the task of sharing God’s grace with everyone without hesitation. It’s okay to struggle with your faith in college. Just don’t do it in isolation. Along with joining a local church, connect with a group of dormmates, people on your intramural kickball team, or co-workers and focus on the task.
Like I mentioned in the previous post, too many students are not getting the higher education they need to fulfill God’s calling in their life. God wants to equip you to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the people you work with in your industry.
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Paul, Acts 20:24).
Are you ready to finish?
Student-athletes who run cross country, swim long distances, or endure long tennis matches know that moment when they have to decide to dig deep to stay in the race or give up and fall on their faces. You know that pushing yourself mentally and physically to compete and complete the race, swim, or match would be the best story ever! It’s also just as easy to grab a protein drink and a shower when your mind and body are ready to end the madness.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the educational race, more than 25 percent of high school students drop out before graduation. More than 30 percent of college students drop out before their sophomore year. Too many students are not getting the higher education they need to fulfill God’s calling in their life.
In the book of Acts, the author (many believe it was Luke) recorded the acts of the apostles and shared them with Theophilus. Toward the end of the book, we read Paul’s words: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24).
I want to share three tips to help you break through the walls and obstacles in your life that could be preventing you from accomplishing your goals. In this blog, I’ll write about how to forget your life. In the next blog, I’ll conclude by writing about finishing the race and focusing on the task.
FORGET YOUR LIFE
When Paul said I consider my life worth nothing to me, he wasn’t saying that his life, or any life, was not important. He wasn’t being fatalistic. He wasn’t saying that wisdom, laughter, education, work, shopping, or eating chocolate cake was bad. Even King Solomon tried all of that and discovered that everything is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:2). (Okay, maybe he had fig cakes, instead of chocolate.)
Paul was saying that he did not value his life above the calling God had given him. We have multiple callings in our life: salvation, vocation, occupation, and avocation. Your salvation begins when you confess your sins and trust Jesus Christ with your heart. If you are ready to make this decision, read this and then share your decision with a Christian friend, pastor, or me.
As you learn to pray, read your Bible, experience life, and discover your interests, you will hear God’s calling for your vocation as a carpenter, welder, engineer, nurse, or missionary. Then you can choose the best path to learn a trade or attend college after high school.
Paul valued and enjoyed life! He loved taking risks (he was bold), being outdoors (tentmaker), and traveling (mission journeys). He just wanted to be obedient to the teachings of Christ and follow His example.
When you are ready to forget your life and focus on the Lord, you are making the most important decision to stay in the race.
In the Christian faith, today is Good Friday.
By being crucified (sacrificing his life for ours), Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took the first step towards fulfilling his higher calling.
Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
What steps have you taken towards fulfilling your higher calling?
"Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle.
- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
You may have heard that without vision, teenagers wander into food court water fountains. Or something like that. It's the same with college planning, without a vision, college-bound students may wander. College planning is a process. You need a plan. In the "Rising Cost of Not Going to College," researchers learned that "the surest path to a good job and satisfying career runs through college."
In Genesis 2:15, we read that God placed man in the garden to "work and watch over it." The original desire for work was a blessing. It sounds like Adam's higher calling was to be a gardener!
Mark Twain said, "The two most important days in your life are the day you're born and the day you find out why." Here are four steps you can take to help you find your why.
Step 1: First, decide that you want to earn a post-secondary education. This is important because some jobs may only require a certificate or some technical training. Others require more education. I recommend earning a four-year bachelor's degree since 65% of future jobs will require a bachelor's degree.
A 53-year old firefighter has been working as a professional fireman in Dallas since he was 19 years old. What an incredible career of service to his community! He earned his 2-year associate's degree years ago. When a Fire Chief opening became available, he wanted to apply. While he has the required experience, he does not have the required education. To become a Fire Chief, he needs a 4-year bachelor's degree. It is important to know what your career goals are, so you can plan accordingly.
Once a decision to earn a bachelor's degree has been made, you need to develop a plan. Start by searching for a major in a fast growing career that complements your calling. When trying to figure out what you're called to do, remember to consider what problems you want to solve, what grips your heart, and even what keeps you up at night - besides cramming for that world history midterm.
Step 2: Once you have selected a major, find a college that is a good academic, social, and emotional fit. If you select a college before you select a career option, you may find out that your favorite I'm-going-to-this-college-no-matter-what doesn't have a program with your desired major.
And what about the potential social and emotional fit. Angel Perez, Director of Admission at Pitzer College wisely said to “keep an open mind about everything you do in college. . . ‘some may’ make you uncomfortable. If you are always comfortable, you will never grow.” Bruce Poch, Dean of Admissions at Pomona College added that "Students who know what they are looking for have better luck finding it and can do a better job of articulating their hopes and interests in their applications.
So step 1 (major selection) comes before step 2 (college selection).
Step 3: Then, when you have a list of colleges that are a good match based on your career choice, you can determine which is the best financial fit. If you start with the cost in mind, you may eliminate affordable options. Since the average four-year cost of attendance is between $83,000 - $183,000 depending on the college (public or private) and career (liberal arts, engineering, aviation), you need to have a plan to pay for college.
Step 4: Now that you've made a commitment to attend the college that is the best fit for you, you're ready to begin preparing for your higher calling, future career and life goals. So let's start career planning.
Robert J. Massa, VP for Enrollment at Dickinson College once said that "There are at least 50 colleges that will be a “right fit” for you!” The challenge is to narrow them down to the right one. Making wise decisions doesn't just happen. You need to plan, work, review, and revise your plans. Remember, discovering your higher calling, as well as college planning, is a process (video by Chispa Motivation).
FUN FACT: At some colleges, students are tossed into campus water fountains on their birthday. Hope you were born in a warm month!
It’s never too early to explore career options. Going to a children’s museum to play farmer, astronaut, fireman, or teacher is a great way to start. However, as a teenager, you might resist attending that family outing (while secretly wishing you could go with your friends).
So, before completing any career assessments or having informal conversations with industry professionals, take a few moments to research the career data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And ask yourself a question: what would you enjoy doing for 2,000+ hours a year?
There are around 300 occupations that require at least a bachelor’s degree for employment. So, you’ll have plenty of options to consider. There are only 14 declining occupations that require a 4-year degree including computer programmers, reporters and editors.
The good news is that there are over 100 occupations with an excellent future based on percentage job growth. So, among the first things to consider when researching your career options are median salary (after 10 years on the job, the average is $77,000), number of annual job openings (it varies between 300 and 200,000) and the required time to earn your degree (4-11 years).
Ultimately, your goal is to earn a degree in a growing occupation that will provide a competitive salary, challenge you, and allow you to contribute to society. And you should have fun too!
A bachelor’s degree takes four-years or less to complete. There are 56 bachelor’s degrees that are considered to be growing faster than average. This means that the occupation has a projected growth between 10% - 37% over the next decade.
With a median salary of $100,080 per year, applications software development is the fourth fastest growing career. At 30.5%, it has the largest projected growth for graduates with a bachelor’s degree.
There are over 85,000 projected job openings per year for applications software developers, second only to registered nurses. Job titles may include Computer Applications Developer / Engineer, Database Developer, or Software Applications Architect / Designer / Engineer.
Information security analysts has a projected growth of 28.4% and Operations research analysts is projected to have the third largest growth at 27.4%
Low but steady growth is projected for 13 occupations including civil engineers (10.6%), technical writers (10.9%), software developers, systems software (10.8%), and financial analysts (10.8%).
In reviewing the data from all 800+ occupations (including those that don’t require a college degree) the one thing that stood out to me was the number of declining professions that require a master’s degree. Zero. Depending on the occupation, you’d only need an extra year or two in graduate school to secure a better job outlook. More education provides more options.
If you think you might be interested in pursuing a graduate degree, know that the top three occupations projected to grow over the next decade might be good fits for those who enjoy math and science.
Nurse practitioners have been among the fastest growing occupations for the past six years. Currently, the projected growth is 36% over the next decade. Nurse practitioners have 14,000 annual job openings and enjoy a median salary of over $101,000.
Surpassing them with a 37.4% projected growth are physician assistants. They may work as an assistant in anesthesiology, family practice, pediatrics or radiology. This health science occupation also has a median salary of $101,000 with about 11,000 annual job openings.
For those who enjoy playing with numbers and formulas, you might enjoy becoming a statistician. Statisticians work in government research, biology labs, large corporations, with environmentalists, and in professional sports. This career has a projected growth of 33.4% (about 4,000 jobs a year) and median salary of $81,000.
Low but steady growth is projected for urban and regional planners (12.8%) and school counselors (11.3%).
DOCTORAL / PROFESSIONAL
The health professions that require the most education (up to 7 additional years after earning your bachelor’s) and have the greatest growth projection are postsecondary health specialties professors in clinical sciences, dentistry, neurology, physical therapy (25.9% growth), physical therapists (25%), postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers (24%), and audiologists (20.4%).
Even though additional education (consider the cost!) is required, the top five fastest growing occupations have a median salary of $84,000. Students need to research all of their options to determine how much and how long they are willing to learn.
Pharmacists have a 5.6% projected career growth. The three occupations with the lowest projected growth are appointed or elected positions as judges.
Now that you’ve considered these numbers, pray about your higher calling, complete a reliable career assessment, and start researching your top three career options using O*Net OnLine and the Occupational Outlook Handbook to discover a career that is right for you.
(And its okay if you want to visit the children's museum.)
Perhaps you’ve never stepped foot on a college campus or it’s been two decades since you’ve attended college.
Every youth worker can be a tremendous source of encouragement (1 Thessalonians 5:11) and have an eternal impact on college-bound seniors during the fall college admissions process.
We know that Jesus hung out with people (John 1:14), talked about the future, and ate a lot of fish. So as your seniors are excitedly talking about their future independence, grab a fish sandwich, and join the conversation when seniors start talking about college.
Encourage Seniors to Stay Focused on Their Journey
College planning can be confusing and stressful – especially for first-generation students and others who don’t know where to attend. They need a trusted youth worker to share advice.
When you’re at a tennis match, cafeteria table, or in the church parking lot, listen to their story. One Wednesday after worship service, Daniel and I began discussing his grades, his career choices and his college choices. He wanted to study music and shared that his dad wanted him to study something else. It was causing conflict in their relationship. So, I listened and encouraged him to consider God’s calling while respecting his parents. After a lengthy discussion, we prayed before he left.
Host a college planning seminar at your church. Invite college students, educational consultants, school counselors, and college admissions officers to speak.
Connect your students with other seniors who are scheduling official college visits, especially if they are still unsure about where (or if) they want to attend. Visiting a campus is an important step in the process.
Take an informal visit to a college campus. I was driving a group of students back from a leadership camp that was held at a private university campus. As we were nearing a Historically-Black College or University (HBCU), Albert asked if we could stop and visit. He was going to be the first person in his family to attend college and I wanted to encourage his options. So, we stopped for a thirty-minute, informal visit. It was a blast! Hearing his friends get excited about attending college was fun as well. After taking a few pictures near the entrance, we discussed their college future for the remainder of the trip. And yes, he was accepted to that HBCU (not the one pictured)!
Keep your seniors focused by asking career and college based questions. Start with these:
Share information about college planning through announcements or social media. Use this College Application Timeline to get started.
September – write essays, take tests, apply for scholarships (two each week), request recommendation letters
October – finalize college lists and essays, apply for financial aid
November – submit college applications, apply for more scholarships!
It is easy for seniors to get distracted with drum rehearsals, AP classes, and homecoming floats. Youth workers can keep seniors focused on their college journey and strengthen their faith in Jesus.
(Click here to read part two.)
This week's guest post is written by Heather Choate Davis. She was very gracious to allow me to share her blog that was originally posted on Ed Stetzer's blog, The Exchange. Heather is a writer, speaker, liturgist, thinker, and co-founder of icktank. Her books include Elijah & the SAT and Man Turned in on Himself: Understanding Sin in 21st-Century America. You can follow her work at heatherchoatedavis.com.
While high school seniors compare their financial aid award letters, juniors are taking standardized tests and underclassmen are doing homework. For college-bound students, "making the grade" has become more important than life itself. But are grades more important than God?
When I was growing up, there were A-students, and B-students, and C-students, and no one—not the kids, not their parents—worried much about it. We all found our way. A single generation later, my son arrived at our local public high school fresh out of a K-8 parochial environment to discover honors students taking Adderall to give them the edge in AP-cram sessions and the SATs, and parents being called home from PTA meetings to find their high-achieving daughters breathing into paper bags.
It’s not surprising that our secular culture has allowed the pressures of quarterly-earnings-report thinking to invade the American childhood in the name of “just wanting them to be happy.” By what other standard would success be measured? But what about those of us who claim to follow a God who promises that our children are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14); that in all things He “works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28); that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10)? Assured that there are as many kinds of good lives as there are rooms in our Father’s house—why don’t we believe it? How is it that we have fallen prey to the same lie that our best hope for our children is to make sure they look good on paper? Many have even reduced church to a platform for creating resume points: youth group team leader, oversees mission trip, “oh, and I served Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless every year.”
Data shows us that the majority of Christians are hedging their bets when it comes to their children’s futures. But times have changed, we say. The world is so much more competitive. And besides, excellence is a virtue. What we don’t say is that we’re absolutely terrified that the world won’t think our kids are quite as extraordinary as we do:
So we fluff them and fold them and nudge them and enhance them and bind them and break them and embellish them beyond measure; then, as we drive them up to the college interviews that they’ve heard since birth are the gateway to the lives they were destined to lead based on nothing more than our own need for it to be true, we tell them, with a smile so tight it would crack nuts, “Just be yourself.” (Elijah & the SAT)
It’s not that we don’t know there’s a problem: we do. We know all about the anxiety and the depression. We read all about the exceptional kids who go off to college only to find they have no idea who they are or what they care about. Kids who have mastered the art of jumping through hoops at the expense of curiosity, grit, spark, and their own unique callings. Kids who have so little experience with failure, they are unable to “shake it off” no matter how loudly they blast Taylor Swift. Looking into the shell-shocked eyes of our own striving teens we can almost hear Him say, enough! “My grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Instead we say a little prayer as we rush them off to SAT-prep class, unwittingly revealing the truth that most Christians have mixed up priorities.
So how do we break the cycle, knowing that the secular world will keep on competing, no doubt celebrating the spots our kids leave open as we endeavor to let them find and follow the path of life He has for them? Well, the parents of the prophet Elijah faced a similar challenge. At a time when Jezebel and her blinged-out pantheon were attempting to drown out the sovereignty of Yahweh, they named their son, “my God is the LORD, ” boldly professing the great I AM and teaching Elijah—not with flashcards, but with their very lives—to pray, listen, and obey.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to be countercultural. As Christian parents living amidst the 21st-century lie that says that we and our children must prove our worth to the world, we are asked to repent of our own sins of pride, fear, and faithlessness, and hold fast to his Word: “For he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). And when we start to believe that what he promised was a 2000+ SAT score, a full ride to a DI school, or a plum internship that’ll give our kid a leg up on the competition, we may want to check the Word again.
Ed Hidalgo asks, "How can a child aspire to a career they don't know exists?" (Watch: TEDxKids@ElCajon). Great question! Here are a few tips to help you explore your possibilities.
Tim Elmore asks, “What problem do you want to solve in the future?” When I've posed that question to students some answer with what they want to do – be an electrical engineer, others add a reason – I want to become a pediatrician because the doctors saved my life when I was a child, and some just stare. (*crickets*)
The key to answering this question is focusing on solving problems. This could open the door to your higher calling. And this is just the start. Consider this, if you are a freshman, you are a decade away from entering the professional workforce. So your future career might not exist.
So what problems do you want to solve? Think about it. What makes you angry (in a good way)? What motivates you to act? What solutions to you offer up for when you talk with your friends? What makes you unique? The clues are there. Once you can identify a problem you are passionate about solving, you can find the major (career) that will help you fulfill your goal.
Who are the type of people that solve the problems you identified. Discover why and how they chose their career path. What majors did they study? This will help fine tune your career vision. It's okay if it develops over time or completely changes.
Now research those careers to understand what your future might look like. Dream! To get stared, use tools like the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Occupational Outlook Handbook. You’ll learn about the salary, growth rate, needed skills, job opportunities, and what majors to consider. My Next Move builds on the handbook allowing you to search by key words or industries.
With a basic idea of the career field, your next challenge will be to conduct a short 5-10 minute interview with someone currently in that industry. Since people love to talk about themselves, you won’t have a problem asking basic questions. Ask them about their education, the awesomeness of their job (problems they solve), and the things they wish they didn't have to do.
You can interview professionals in your family, at their place of business, over the phone, or by email. CareerVillage is a place to ask current professionals your questions. And if you are an upperclassman, you can job-shadow, intern, work part-time in that field.
If you want a few career aptitude assessments to consider, contact me (blog, email, social media) for some recommendations.
This is just one step towards your higher calling.
Combining my youth ministry and educational consulting experience, I guide students to connect higher education with God's calling.