This week took my parenting of a teenage son into a whole new direction. Not because I found his uneaten sandwich in our bin (if you don’t follow me on social let’s just say my sandwich-making sucked apparently!!) but because our eldest child has entered Year 11 and that means SUBJECT SECTIONS.
For some parents, you may have been in my shoes and have a whole lot of experience, or for others, you may have little ones and haven’t faced this stage of parenting. But for my husband and me, it’s a whole new ball game.
In my day it felt simple, but as my children keep referring to my childhood as the “olden days”, maybe it wasn’t? There certainly wasn’t the diversity of subjects that are available today and there weren’t different ways of entering University or tertiary facilities. You simply sat your end of year 12 examinations called TEE (I am showing my age!!) and that was your entry score into your chosen tertiary path.
This week my son was feeling overwhelmed, confused and horribly anxious around some of his subjects he had selected for years 11 and 12. My first thought was “it’s only been a few weeks Cole give yourself a chance”, then my second reaction was “let’s get some advice from the school” ooh and my third sneaky reaction was “we just bought all your books and it cost an arm and leg and now you want to change subjects”. But, I could see the worry in his eyes. I could see this once little boy of mine having the look that the world was sitting on his shoulders.
He was fidgeting when he started to discuss the challenges he felt over whether he had picked the right or the wrong subjects or enough subjects on his list. Then he said, “But Mum I don’t even know exactly what I want to do when I leave school, I’m really worried, shouldn't I know?”. Now that stopped me in my tracks.
Should my son know exactly what he wants to be and is there too much pressure on teenagers to make decisions on their future at such a young age?
Having gone down the entrepreneurial path at the ripe old age of 45!!… I couldn’t help but want to discuss different possibilities with my boy. We had such a beautiful chat and I said to him, “If your heart is set on University - then absolutely fabulous if you feel passionate to learn at another tertiary facility – great, and if you want to enter the workforce – wonderful…. But just pick something and give it your all”. Who knows, maybe it’s not what you thought it was supposed to be or maybe it was the best decision ever, but regardless, you have to decide.
Then we entered a discussion around the 3 C’s. You may be wondering what are these 3 C’s? Well so was Cole, so let me explain;
1. CHOOSE– yep it’s pretty simple but for many and that includes me, making a decision can take FOREVER. Honestly, I could never make a fully committed decision prior to starting my business. I would go back and forth wondering whether that decision was right, then I’d ask a friend, or a family member, or a co-worker and ultimately 9 times out of 10 I was no further ahead. Cole, unfortunately, was doing the same “What do you think Mum”? “What do you think Dad”? What do you think tohis teachers? I said to him, we could pick all your subjects for you based on what WE think, make all the decisions for YOU, but is that going to be RIGHT for YOU? What we believe might be important, interesting, enjoyable may not be for you. You need to CHOOSE.
2. COMMITT– commit to your decision. Now, this can be challenging for many of us. It's so easy to go back and forth wondering whether the decision you made was, in fact, the right decision, but as I said to Cole unless you fully committed you will never know. I myself have learned over many years, life is a journey some decisions might suck, some might be the best decision ever but you have to give yourself a chance. Just COMMIT.
3. CONSISTENCY – Talking to a 16-year-old boy may result in him turning his head in disinterest, but honestly, no matter what you do in life, no matter what subject, what career path you take, you just have to stay CONSISTENT. I know it’s easier said than done as I too have fallen off the wagon when it has come to my health, my exercise and even my business. But experiencing failure and wondering why this happens 9 times out of 10 always results in not being consistent.
Over the past couple of years of initially starting a direct selling business to now a Mind, Business and Lifestyle Coaching Business for Busy Mums, one thing I have most definitely learned is that Consistency builds Success.
After our mother and son chat Cole and I headed to his school to seek a little more guidance. Thankfully the situation became a whole lot clearer for him and of course for me too!!
I do believe it’s unrealistic for a 16 year to decide on their exact career path. Seriously who knew what they wanted to be at 16? And are you still working in that exact same field some 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years later? Well if you are and STILL loving your career, hats off to you as that is incredible, but for others like me, it’s been a journey. Do I regret having worked in many different industries absolutely not! As they say, it’s all character building and I believed it has shaped me into the person I am today. Heck, I scooped ice cream at a Yoghurt Shop in San Diego for a year and still to this day I had some of the best times in my life, meet some incredible people and my boss is one of my dearest of dearest friends.
Maybe if Cole had spoken to us sooner he would not have felt so anxious, perhaps as parents, we should have been more receptive to Cole’s worry, who really knows but as they say, it’s just another learning curb and another stage of parenting.
The life of a parent..... but of course we wouldn’t have it any other way.