Don’t Follow Your Passions, Take The Safe Road

Posted on April 17, 2014


I continue to wrestle with the idea of letting my child do what ever she wants for her entire K – 12 education.

All of the research I’ve done shows that students are more than capable of developing in to competent, successful adults who are happy with their lives without ever taking a class, doing homework, or passing a test. In this environment, though, it’s difficult to predict what a child will end up doing with their life. They seem to be more likely to want to follow their passions regardless of the financial ramifications.

And I have to admit that the idea of my child following her passions sounds great if those passions are directed toward a high-paying, well-respected career, but if those passions are directed towards a less prominent career it’s definitely a little more nerve-wracking.

The thing is, even as I was writing this I was trying to come up with examples of careers that I would “approve of” less and I couldn’t really do it. Every one I thought of (art, music, writing, sports, entertainment, acting, etc) had examples of people who were making good livings, who potentially had enormous upside both from the financial and creative perspectives.

The thing is, life is hard. Your life doesn’t get easier because you decided to take a respectable job that you don’t really care about. In fact, the less you care, the more difficult life seems to be. There are many ways to make money, but it’s very difficult to get up in the morning to attend to a job that you don’t care about, not to mention the risk of losing a job if your employer recognizes how little you care.

I don’t mean to make light of the challenges that exist with many passions/professions, but if I really think about it, I’d rather my children be excited about their daily lives even if that does mean they struggle a bit more financially.

Of course none of this research or logic quiets all the doubts I have. It’s just not easy to take a leap in to an unknown, especially when it’s your kids that will be feeling the ramifications. I’m not sure if there’s anything I can learn or think through that will quiet all of these doubts…



Posted in: Education, Thoughts