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I didn’t want to grow up, but since I did, I’m glad I was a college bound kid

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GrownUpKids

As a kid, I spent so much time wishing I was older and daydreaming about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Yet as I look back, I wish I wouldn’t have spent so much time worrying about the future. Instead I should have focused on the important things like perfecting the best techniques for pestering my sister, causing trouble with my friends, and repeatedly testing the hypothesis: “Just what would happen if I tried [insert allegedly dangerous activity here]? It can’t hurt that bad.”

I don’t know if the same goes for your kids, but there were at least a hundred different things that I wanted to be between the time I was four and when I graduated from college. In fact, once I got to college, things weren’t necessarily easier. It took me awhile to find the discipline that “spoke to me.” Unfortunately, I wasn’t unique in this regard. According to research at Penn State University, half of college students change their majors at least once before they graduate, with some changing several times.

No matter how many times kids change their visions of their future selves; this kind of introspection is an essential component of developing and discovering their passions. But connecting dreams to realities takes work. Sure, we’re good at reminding our kids of this – study hard, do your homework, and whatever you do, don’t end up in the principal’s office! But we as parents have just as much responsibility in ensuring our children do well in school and grow up to be successful and responsible citizens.

While it’s important to support your kids in their academic endeavors, it’s easy to take it too far. As parents, we may be tempted to push our children towards the things we have in mind for them, rather than encouraging them to search for what they’re passionate about. While this may be well-intentioned, this parenting faux pas can create a dilemma for students who want to live up to expectations, but are interested in other subjects.

And of course (you know I had to work this in), in addition to being emotionally invested in your kid’s ambitions, it’s important to financially support their dreams. Saving for future college expenses ensures your children can focus on “what” they want to do, rather than “if” they can afford to pursue it. As the cost of higher education continues to increase, so does the importance of a college degree in staying competitive in today’s job market. With studies showing that 67% of new jobs in Washington will require at least some postsecondary education by 2018, it’s clear that college is a valuable stop on the path to the work world.

It’s important to be ready to support your children in their dreams and take the necessary steps to help them succeed in whatever career path they settle on. Investing in your child’s future will help ensure they’ll move out of the house and buck the rising trend of “boomerang kids”…Wait, what I meant to say is, it will help set them up for a lifetime of success!

Written by Lucas Minor

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