If you have a teen who is not inclined to enter college three months after graduating high school, are you doomed to visiting your child in their minimum wage position at the local coffee shop, or in their basement bedroom in your home?
Simple answer, NO!
How did things come to this? Back in the day (and, if you’re reading this you were back in the day with me), high schools and middle schools taught things like cooking, sewing, woodworking, metal work and hair cutting. Sure, perhaps special education resources as defined by today’s standards were not as “plentiful,” but it seemed there were WAY more “life” options!
It’s always been true that some children just don’t like academics, and the thought of “cubical nation” scares the crap out of them. Some people are “hands on,” it’s in their genes and perhaps you (their parent) fall into this category as well!
However, in today’s climate, EVERYONE is supposed to go to college. Even within the world of special education, the primary focus is how to get children’s grades up, with very little focus on what THEY want to do in life. This does not/should not doom them to life as a minimum wage worker. Where schools have bowed out, parents need to step in.
Apprenticeship Is NOT Dead
It’s been said that if you truly love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. For many children who view academics more as a chore, an apprenticeship with a skilled crafts/trades person is just what they need. Ten-to-20 hours spent each week, half the time being spent DOING the work and half learning the finer points of the job will set a teen up for a solid working-wage career by the time they graduate.
In addition, they will learn by observing the skills necessary to run a business (website, phone, employee management, insurance, customer relations, etc.). It seems that most kids graduating from college lack these skills (real world application).
The outcome? Your teen will see first hand just how successful one can become as an entrepreneur. (Doubt me? Ask your plumber what he drives when he’s not driving a company truck.) There is more than one road to professional, personal, and financial success. Don’t get too caught up in the “everyone-else-is-doing-it” machinery and ignore the other possibilities open to your child.
As a parent, what’s been your experience in apprenticeships and trade type skills? Please share in the comments below!