I remember my youthful, carefree days of adolescent summers about 4 (gulp) decades ago. Babysitting, hanging out at the local pool, walking around the neighborhood with my best friend belting out the latest pop hit “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge – secure that our friendship would last a lifetime. It has. Gosh, just listening to this song brings back so many memories.
Adolescent Summers Offer Unique Growth Experiences
We remember adolescent summers fondly because of the essential and impactful growth experiences we enjoyed. Finally released from the unyielding time restraints of a school schedule, ‘tweens and teens have an opportunity to spend time participating in activities of their own choosing. As parents, respecting our child’s options will help them grow into independent, self-sufficient adults.
The Dream Job: Scooping Ice Cream
When I returned home for summer after my freshman year of college, my dad insisted I work full-time at the insurance company that employed him. My dad believed business was a wonderful career route and wanted me to gain that experience. I, on the other hand, had absolutely no interest in the business route. The very idea of sitting in an office day in and day out for the. rest. of. my. life. was the furthest thought from my mind.
I found myself scooping (okay, eating) ice cream in a tiny little shack overlooking the alluring water of the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. To this day whenever I catch a whiff of low tide, no matter which beach I am visiting, I am instantly transported back to Old Saybrook; the unforgettable summers spent with family and the summer experience serving ice cream cones to hungry tourists.
Would I have rather fidgeted my summer away in an air-conditioned office sharpening pencils making a lot more money? Was my dad right? Should I have obediently shadowed his daily schedule to gain office experience? Not going to lie, I feel a bit guilty for not embracing his kind and well-meaning offer. At the time I had no idea where my career would lead, however, I listened to the little (loud) voice deep in my soul that said, “NO. That is not the life you are meant to live.”
Trust your children to know what kind of summer job appeals to them.
Trust your children to find a summer job that suits their passion and inspires their future. It may not bring in the big bucks or allow them to make “the” networking connection, but it may inspire childhood memories that can happily transport your child to a distant memory. Additionally,
Scooping ice cream served me well. I learned to deal with difficult customers and the importance of accountability when closing and opening a business. Mor importantly, I learned that kindness and patience shown to strangers are quite impactful. These skills prove useful as a nurse, teacher, and entrepreneur.
Allow your child to select a summer job that suits their personality and future goals. Their personality and goals. Plus, it is summer! Let them have a little fun with their summer job!
Even rock bands sing about choosing careers.
This morning my daughter Molly sent me a link to this band’s performance on Good Morning America. One of her friends is in Judah & the Lion, which is cool, but their message inspired this post. Enjoy.