The other day my 26 years old son, who is a successful financial analyst, came around and said, “My entire friends circle feels that I could have become a doctor, but no one motivated me”; the motivations hint was towards me of course. That was a joke and my son I know, is very happy at what he is doing. Everything is so materialistic now a days that once in a while kids do get influenced and make such comments. Since the comment came in front of his wife, I justified my position, “I wish you could have become a doctor, but you were only in the 7th grade when you had decided to pursue business.
I did motivate my daughter though; she is a very successful computer consultant. We did talk about their choosing the medical profession. They both didn’t want to give in a good part of their lives to learning. Like most other kids, they were both in a hurry to get on with their lives. Whereas on one part, both, my husband and myself gave them freedom to make their choices, we were aware that they both picked professions which would get them further in life, if they worked hard. Both, my kids now say that they could have become anything. I always believed that my children should have a multi-faceted life. True, once you finish medicine one has tremendous material comfort. The price is heavy though – solitary focus on the goal. Doctors, on first call could spend at a stretch up to 36 hours in the hospital.
The question is do parents direct their children towards their profession; if yes and how hard they must push? All parent, wish, their children should become doctors and engineers; however, just being intelligent does not mean that the child’s aptitude is towards these desirable professions. Two of my friends took it on themselves to decide the profession of their kids. Both kids were gifted and had studied at Bronx Science HS. It’s a coincidence that they both admitted themselves into NYU for pre-medical. After four years of college they both decided medicine is not for them. In fact, one kid even went to Bronx Lebanon for a couple of years. Now they have lost four years and still do not have any specialization. Another friend of my daughter’s, a very gifted student, went to Columbia for pre-medical to eventually realize that it was not her piece of cake. Now after 6/7 years of college she is on her way to become a dentist. I am sure this wasn’t the desire of her parents.
My husband was going to the Air Force School in New Delhi and was doing well in Fine Arts but his father wanted him to be an engineer without realizing he wasn’t cut for it. He was declined science core in the Air Force School. He was then sent to a DAV school because that school offered him science subjects and his father thought that perhaps there perhaps his son might get prepared for engineering school. My husband failed squarely and miserably and that was the end of his career and academics. He learnt the hard way from his experiences and mistakes. Nothing has changed eh!
While the parents must help their children in deciding their profession, they should not force them into anything without realizing as to what direction the aptitude of the child is. Parents should make their kids aware of their own perspective and experience with a view to guide as to what a certain profession could possibly bring for the kids in future. It should never be ignored that a profession is a life time passion for the individuals. It is important that we must enjoy what we do as only then we can excel. Making money is very important but the willingness to pay the price for it must be left to the kids. We as parents must guide our kids in making them aware of the future of a certain so-called profession, discreetly.
Then there is another extreme of parents, who just do not interfere in their child’s life. No influence whatsoever! They strictly believe in total freedom to the child. At 19 years a child does definitely need help from mature experience and perspective. As we see our children grow, if we are involved and pay attention, we can almost know what our child is cut for. Most of my colleagues are of the belief that they are not going to say anything as to what their child decides for his/her future. With the result, kids are changing majors till the senior year, sometimes even after finishing college they have no clue about what they want to do in life because they end up finishing in Liberal Arts, just like me. Now when I look back, I wish I knew what I should have done with my life. Not that I have any regrets; I still feel I could have done much better.
In the end, parents have an obligation to help their children decide their future with keeping clearly in mind; what their child wants to do and what he may be cut for. But the ultimate choice, decision and accountability towards their desired goals should be the freedom and prerogative of the child.