So your kids are graduating from college. You’ve watched them “walk” and throw their caps high into the air. You’ve seen your bank balance drop considerably over these last few years but watching them receive their degrees has made the whole experience worth while. In a perfect world your child will find his/her way into their dream job and your job is done!
But it’s not a perfect world. In fact your children may decide to take a break and consider their options. If that’s the case, I would urge you to support them. Traveling helps them take on new experiences and then draw on them later when it comes to making career choices that will shape their future. The number of business ideas that students bring back from interacting with people all over the world cannot be overstated. It gives them a global awareness that will come in handy when entering the workforce. The best advice I could give any parent is to tell their child to spend time working on whatever they are passionate about in life. If their degree was focused in one particular area, don’t let that stop them from moving in another direction. Take advantage of any opportunity to expose your child to new experiences.
My father took me to an exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in London when I was eight. They were showing the work of Carl Andre. The exhibit comprised one-hundred-and-twenty bricks, arranged in two layers, in a six-by-ten rectangle. I turned to my father and asked him what this was. He told me it was art. Years later, after much traveling I found my way to America and opened a gallery, thank you dad for planting the seed.
Later, raising two kids and having to navigate the school system I found a niche in the market that no one had thought to fill: writing books on schools. This had already been done in England and was called “The Good School Guide”. So I brought the idea here, changed it a little and it worked!
The message needs to be strong and clear from you as parents. “Be ambitious, inquisitive and continue to learn throughout your life.” Coming out of university these days with a degree doesn’t guarantee a job. I often hear about the college graduate who returns home with no immediate prospects, plan or direction. I say, give them the money that it would cost you to house them and send them away for 6 months to a year. There probably won’t be another time in their lives where they have such freedom to explore and learn.
Their goal should be to use these travels to help discover their path in life. Our leaders of industry are not always doing such a great job. Our children are the leaders of the future. We have to encourage them to be whatever they want to be and wherever possible, point them in the right direction. Make those introductions. Take them to those important functions. Treat them like adults and you will be amazed at what they can do.