Recognise your child's future......by reading the clues
- Posted by:
- Michael Grose
It was sad to hear of the passing of Bryce Courtenay late last week.
He was wonderful story-teller, who came to writing at the relatively late age of 51, after a successful career in advertising.
It seems he was always an avid story-teller. Brought up partly in an orphanage to avoid being bullied he learned to tell stories. In an interview with The Saturday Age he said a schoolmate told him: “If you can’t bullshit your way out then you better know how to fight.”
He chose the former and added that he’s been bullshitting ever since. He’d been a storyteller as a child, and he returned to that in his fifties experiencing super-success and obviously huge satisfaction.
I tell this story because for a long time I’ve been thinking how activities that kids naturally engage in, can give vital clues to the types of jobs and activities that will give them satisfaction and even success during their adult life.
It’s been estimated that one in two students that finish secondary school only have a vague idea about what they want to do with their lives.
Often they choose tertiary courses that lead to careers that are valued by their parents and their school, and that they may have an aptitude for, but have no real love for. They become lawyers, accountants or teachers, yet the activities that sustain them as kids maybe something completely different such as cooking, writing or comedy.
Many kids will end up spending their entire working lives in jobs that they have an aptitude for, and pay the bills, but they have no passion for.
That means their working lives will be a constant battle. I know firsthand when you find the ‘thing’ you love to do, then work maybe hard but it’s never a chore! And they are more likely to experience real success and satisfaction, which you can’t measure in dollars and cents!
What activities energise kids?
The key is understanding the concept of ‘flow’. This is the state of getting so fully immersed in an activity that you forget about time and place. Moreover, the activity gives rather than robs you of energy. Sports people and performers call it ‘getting in the zone’. Writers and other creatives understand this concept of 'flow'.
And kids practise flow a lot.
Sometimes ‘flow’ is easy to recognise. For instance, actor Geoffrey Rush as a boy was forever making up little plays and acting out different character at home. He was a natural thespian, yet he followed the traditional career route into tertiary education. He joined a theatre group while studying at university and a new career was born.
Often the state of 'flow' is the cause of a great deal of conflict or family argument. My son would often be late dinner because he was forever tinkering- he’d be either taking his skateboard apart and putting it back together again, or doing something ‘creative’ with his hands. It seemed his brain worked best when his hands were busy. He was always happiest when he was working with his hands.
As an adult he’s forgone a tertiary education to work as a chef; a job that’s both creative and hands-on! The clues were there when he was young, but I didn’t recognise them.
So I’m not suggesting that you throw the schoolbooks out and ignore that report card. Those too will hold clues to your kids’ futures.
But keep you eye out for the activities that your kids just LOVE to do! As Bryce Courtenay discovered the secrets to a lifetime of happiness and success may well lay in the activities that kids love to do.