How to Help Guide Your Child Towards a Career They'll Love

Stephen Welstead/LWA/CorbisI have always enjoyed art and being creative, and I wish I had followed that path more closely through school and into college. There were so many signs that I should have followed that path, but I didn't, even though that is ultimately where I have landed because it really was my passion. One of the main reasons I didn't follow that path is because everyone around me had been telling me that I was supposed to be a teacher. I also love working with kids, and I come from a family of practical, service driven people who thought that that meant that I should become a teacher, and so that's the path I followed. Had I pursued my interest in the creative arts, I'm certain I would be further along in my career now. So how do we help our kids find their passion and follow the right path for them?

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My path to becoming a teacher met an abrupt halt when after doing my student-teaching I realized that while I loved kids, I really didn't enjoy teaching very much. While I was certain that I would enjoy the summers off, I feared that I wouldn't enjoy having my own children if I followed that path, and that was something that was very important to me. As a result, I graduated from college with a degree in something that I had decided I didn't want to do, and I had no idea where to go from there. It took a few twists and turns, but I finally landed myself a job working for a home furnishings catalog where I loved helping select products and styling photo shoots, and laying out the catalog. While I had other responsibilities, I realized that this was what I truly enjoyed doing.

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Eventually I decided to go to school for interior design and began taking night classes, and now I work as a designer for interiors and events, as well as a writer and blogger. But looking back, I realize that I should have known to follow that path much earlier. As a teenager, while other kids were watching MTV, I was watching Martha Stewart. My dorm mates rooms looked like most typical dorm rooms, but mine was fully done up with curtains that perfectly matched my bedding and a wing back chair for guests to sit in. I heard comments like "I love your room because it feels like home." When my friends were shopping for clothes, I was usually in the home décor section of the store picking up throws, picture frames, and candles.

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I don't blame anyone for not pushing me in that direction, but I wish that I had paid closer attention to the things that I really got excited about in my daily life and then found a path to my career that was in line with that. "What do you want to be?" is one of the most daunting questions you can ask a teenager. But you can encourage them to look for work in fields that they are truly interested in. Even if your son is passionate about baseball, he can work to make a very successful career out of that without having to be good enough to play in the major leagues. There are hundreds, if not thousands of jobs surrounding the game of baseball. Every team has a huge support team that helps get them on the field every day including trainers, recruiters, executives and their assistants, groundskeepers, web site designers, bat and ball manufacturers and many more. The same goes for every other industry.

To start, help your child determine what they are passionate about. Then help them narrow down what they would like to do within the industry that surrounds their passion. There are careers at every level of every industry, and if you truly love what you do, you will be successful because you will be happy.

This post was written by Sarah Fernandez of

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