A GED Isn’t Worst Case!
In our family, a GED defines graduation and not a diploma. I know that most people hear “I have a GED.” and think dropout, unwed mother, or possibly “did time.” But before you become too alarmed, keep in mind that we look at things from an employer’s point of view. In our experience a high school diploma primarily means that the young person did their time in class. While showing up is important, it is just the beginning of what we expect from our employees! A GED requires some basic proficiencies in math, writing and reading comprehension – skills we’ve sadly seen lacking among some high school graduates!
College Should Be Intentional
College costs are astronomical and jobs are not guaranteed even with a “good” degree, so many of the over eighteen million people in college are wasting their time and money. Don’t let your child be one of them. College, like all learning, should be done for a purpose. If you need training only received in a college setting, or cannot go into the field God has wired you for without a college degree, you should be thinking about college. If not, you should ask yourself if this is really your best option.
On The Job Training Is Legit
I began working for Timberdoodle as a preschooler fetching items or carrying boxes out to the UPS stop. Over the years I gradually worked through the ranks at the warehouse and the office to the point now where I like to brag that I get paid to learn! I have learned a lot about many different programs, and would feel comfortable using them to generate extra income were God to bless me with my own family. More than that, I have become the primary Complete Curriculum manager/curriculum advisor. Mom still oversees all of that, and I can’t imagine tackling a project like that without her wisdom and years of experience, but I have had the privilege of implementing it all, writing all of the guides and answering complex questions I never could have dreamed up!
In our family that meant that a portion of each of our incomes was pooled into the Solid Rock Farm account and used to run a farmette. We learned a lot about raising animals, pricing, yield, unexpected costs, working hard, and enjoying God’s creation. Whether your child is interested in repairing computers or a housecleaning venture, encourage him to invest his time, talent and treasure in his own company. It may fail (We long ago abandoned any hope of making a profit in raising livestock here!) but the lessons he has learned will serve him lifelong.
Some places will want a high school transcript, others rely heavily on a SAT score, essay, portfolio, resume or a career-specific test. Find out what you’ll need, and buckle down to get it done. Talk to the leading people in your chosen industry, get an appointment with the college advisor, read the best books of the industry, find the professional magazine/blog to join and learn, learn, learn. Ask what your options are, how they got to where they are, what they would do in your shoes, what should you be reading or doing now. Take notes, rough out a plan, then get to work on it.
Plan Well But Also Get To Work
Some people get lost in a never ending planning session and never get around to their goals. Others could have saved months of work by making a simple phone call and discovering that those credits wouldn’t transfer. Try to strike an appropriate balance.
Go With Your Skills
Some people grow up knowing what they want to pursue, and actually being good at it. Others are at a loss where to start. Think through your child’s strengths and weaknesses honestly. The teen who hates to read, shouldn’t plan on becoming a doctor – do you want a doctor who doesn’t stay up to date on current studies? The one who loves working outdoors shouldn’t make their first choice of work web design. On the other hand, a compassionate person who loves people will be good as an EMT, teacher, or nursing home care provider.
We strongly recommend finding a need in the community that he can meet and letting him practice his skills there. The future chef may want to volunteer at the soup kitchen, while administrative types may find a local nonprofit that needs help. Our own family loved volunteering for the community hospital and local fire department. If you are at a loss, just start meeting needs in your own church/neighborhood. Assign it as part of the schoolwork if that helps – public schools do, why not you? One of the biggest blessings from this is that he will gain insights into the workforce and what he loves/hates doing. For instance we were shocked to find out how much paperwork has to be done in the fire department; can you imagine if you spent years training for a job only to find out it wasn’t what you thought?
Don’t Waste Your Life
Most importantly, keep the big picture in mind when evaluating career options. Future Dads especially need to ensure that they can financially support the family. But life isn’t about money, and he needs to realize that early. Does your career glorify God? (Doing justice, showing mercy, undoing the curse…) Are you doing what you have been wired for, or just what is easy or seems financially prudent? Business can and should be done to the glory of God, don’t overlook that at any stage of planning!