According to a CNNMoney article in 2010, "U.S. job satisfaction hits 22-year low" we really need a big reality check in how we are raising our children and preparing them for their income-earning years.
"Through both economic boom and bust during the past two decades, our job satisfaction numbers have shown a consistent downward trend," said Lynn Franco, director of the Consumer Research Center of The Conference Board, in a prepared statement.
"The drop in satisfaction over the past 22 years spans various aspects of employee life, including interest in work (down 18.9 percentage points) and job security (down 17.5 percentage points). And employee satisfaction dipped across the board; workers in every age group and income levels showed a drop, but workers younger than 25 were the most unhappy in their jobs."
Don't you want better for your kids?
Where do we start? I can tell you that blaming politicians, the economy or job market is not an accurate view of the situation. Just looking at the stats, job satisfaction still decreased during years of economic prosperity. We need to start at home. We need to start with our own attitudes about occupation, work and income. The simplest and most influential place to start changing our thinking is with our children.
We have all heard it before: "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Now, just reading that questions conjures up feelings doesn't it? Remember back to the times when you were asked this. How did you feel? If you were little, you confidently blurted out the profession that appealed to you at the time .... firefighter, ballerina, doctor, dentist, helicopter pilot, army guy. With each of these declarations you know exactly how your parents, and other elders, felt about your answer. They either thought it was "cute" or they got excited if it was a profession they approved of. How do you think the attitudes you received shaped your answers over time? How did it shape what you chose to study? How did it change how you felt about what was expected of you? Or did it shape a rebellion against these attitudes, even to the point where it was to your own detriment?
I feel like I am stating the obvious here yet many of you have blurted out that same, or similar, question to your kids. By your answers to what I asked above, can you honestly tell yourself this is a valid question? Asking "What do you want to be when you grow up?" suggests that "you" aren't "anyone" until you are old enough to have a paying job. Is that true? Are your kids nobody? That question in and of itself, I think, sets your kids up to be manipulated by the feelings you have about their answer as well as tells them know that you, their most trusted, closest, most important person in their life, has no idea who they are or what their strengths are. The question is innocent enough, so we think, but it is said as if it is some right of passage we must all go through.
Again, I ask, don't you want better for your kids?
Here is what I suggest. Next time that question comes across your mind stop and think about what you are really asking and most importantly why? If your next thought is fear-based at all, go talk to another parent! Do not put your own fears of your kids' future on them. Your feelings are your responsibility, not theirs. It is not their job to make you feel better. I don't care how old they are either. I guarantee you that the older they are, the more fears you have and the more this will cause arguments or your child just shutting down.
If you are really asking this question out of a general curiosity, I would suggest posing it only to yourself. What is your child going to be when they grow up? It's still a silly question, don't you think? You don't know so how are they supposed to. Why not ask things about what they are interested in right now. Who knows... your taking interest may be all the encouragement they need to pursue a new passion or dream that will be fulfilling to them. How many success stories start with a mention of an adult who took an interest in that kid's passion?
I believe our job as parents is to help our children discover everything they can about life and what makes them happy. If they are allowed to explore and discover what their passions are... their passions, not passions that we find acceptable.... we help set them up for a successful life. It is up to you to not set them up to be yet another person with an unsatisfying job. You have a more powerful influence over your child's future than you realize. Your job is to help them see who they are not who the world wants them to be.
As a Parent Coach and Mentor, my passion lies in empowering parents to make the best decisions they can for their children and their families as a whole. As a well-trained coach, I can be your facilitator and accountability partner for long-lasting, meaningful change that has a permanent, positive impact for your family. By focusing on the values that you hold most important in your life, I can help you create and maintain the type of parenting relationship you want to have with your children, now and into their adulthood.
I am a homeschooling mom of four children in Massachusetts. I am also the author of a book called The Herbal Beverage Book, which can be found on amazon or directly on my website. When not coaching, writing or spending time with the family, I enjoy Hayao Miyazaki films, new and classic Dr. Who episodes, anything related to American history and a great glass of mead.
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This blog is a collection of thoughts, articles and perspectives I have at any one time. While I am pretty consistent in my beliefs, life changes and evolves along with experiences. You may feel a connection with me through my writing yet I never want any of my readers to misunderstand that the connection you feel is with a perspective I have shared and not me as a person. I am continually humbled that I am able to connect with my readers, and I hope to continue to be able to for many years to come, but it doesn't make us connected in any way beyond this. If you connect with what I write and know me as an acquaintance, this in no way reflects that I have any knowledge of you, your situation in life or that I am writing with you in mind. It is merely that I have shared a human experience that most likely very many others have had has well. This also goes for anything I post on my Twitter account, Facebook Page and Facebook personal page. I wanted to make this disclaimer as clear as possible so you know that any misunderstanding you choose to have is not my responsibility.