WOW | Ed Page

Be the person who helps them find and navigate their dreams

Listening, talking and debating with young people, I see many of them grappling with confusion… often caught between their dreams and that of their parents for them.

Most young people are caught early in the uncertainty of a future they want to design for themselves and what their families wish for them. The path they want is of trial and error… unknown but filled with purposeful passion and young dreams, and the path their parents want them to tread is tried, tested and secure.

A young intern at my office stood at the same crossroads. She knew what she wanted. She knew what she was good at. And she knew what would make her happy. But she also understood that her parents had invested what could have been their lifetime savings into getting her the best possible education. She knew they had sacrificed holidays and compromised on personal luxuries to ensure that she never wanted for anything. So how then could she argue with the career path they believed would be best for her.   

Wisdom is hard earned and comes with a lifetime of making and undoing mistakes, but can you really protect your child always. Are you being fair by not allowing them to make and learn from their own mistakes? Navigating life is not easy. By enforcing choices on your kids, are you not disabling them?

When young people are building an understanding of what type of jobs they would like to do, or the life they would like to live… they are holding precious moments of choice and with that a chance at fulfillment. Just because their choices are different from yours does not mean that they are not grateful and appreciative of your upbringing… or that they do not value your influence in their life. It’s rare for young people to really know what they want, but you have to trust that they will figure it out. Be the person who helps them find and navigate their dreams.