Conversations surrounding career and professional development may seem premature when you’re dealing with students in school. There is a fine line between encouragement and pressure where career conversations are concerned and if you don’t do it right, it could be tantamount to pressure for your students. Want to ensure students feel passionate about learning and growing their ambitions? Here’s how you can do it!
1. Encourage their interests
If your child or student shows interest in a field or activity, encourage them to find avenues for it. Support them with classes or introduce them to somebody in the field. The idea is not to monetize these interests now but to build them so it becomes a tangible career option later on!
2. Introduce diverse professions to your students/children
It is important for children to see that success comes in many different forms through many different avenues. As mentors and guides, we must encourage children to see career and ambition as one that is not just rooted in the medical or engineering fields. Showing them a range of professions and introducing them to new avenues will help them broaden their horizons and will also allow them to understand talent beyond numbers and graphs!
3. Help them organise their finances
Children who are taught how to be responsible with money have been studied to be more independent and ambitious than others who had that exposure later in life. Give them an allowance and teach them how to save, grow and make financially responsible purchases. Teaching children how to manage their money is also one way of teaching them how to be responsible for earning it. The idea is not to associate money with success but rather to help them understand a fundamental aspect of career and ambition, that is, money management.
4. Help them draw goal charts
Merely having ambition is not enough; children should also be taught the process they need to follow to actualise their ambitions. Having said that, do not pressure them to meet all the goals on their chart. The chart is merely a blueprint to their careers and it should be subjected to flexibility because no professional paths are linear.
5. Build their vision
Children respond better to visuals and so it is important that you help them set the vision they want to deliver. Build their vision by showing them successful professionals in their field. Show them what the process looks like by introducing them to a mentor who can fill in the gaps where you can’t. Films, books and plays are also an inspiring way to help them build this vision and most importantly, do it with love!
We are lucky that we have a very forward-thinking generation at our hands today. Helping them model their ideal future now is less of a challenge for parents and educators than what it used to be. Children now are naturally more curious and capable of finding avenues on their own. However, they need a grounding presence in their lives and that is where we can come in! What’s better? This whole process can also be a learning curve for us as mentors since we become aware of all that we don’t know, that we can learn about!
So to reiterate, ensure there are regular conversations about career and profession and make sure you do it without associating a linear success chart to it. Growth happens in various ways and encouraging students to draw their own charts is the best way of being the support system they need!