Scott Schimmel 0:00
Hey everybody, this is Scott Schimmel and I'm here with another, xcellent, excellent, that's my promise, episode of The YouSchool podcast. What we're talking about today is typically, I'd say, it's probably the only question that we ask of young people. And that question is about their future. What are your plans? What are we? Where are you going next? And we might ask that in a variety of ways, where are you going to college? What's your major going to be? What kind of career are you thinking about? And effectively, those are all the same question. It's about your future. And what I've learned, as a parent, who now has two teenagers, and another one, who's nine, is that I am involved in helping them think through and answer that question. And there are and we're going to walk through these, there are nine significant mistakes that parents make, and teachers make when they have conversations with kids about the future. And I've made all nine of them. And this is actually really cathartic, it's really helpful for me to think through these nine, because I do not want to make these mistakes when it comes to my kid. So I'm gonna walk through each one of these nine mistakes. And you can get this in the show notes, too. If you want to keep track of what the notes are the first mistake, my son asked me this recently, Hey, Dad, how do I figure out what to do with my future? And what he was asking me specifically, was about what do I think he should do and think about in order to figure out college college plans? And that's really where we had been exploring before then. But for a couple days before then, we were talking about selecting classes and grades and GPA requirements, and what are the different schools around San Diego and Southern California? And where would you like to go to school. And obviously, that makes sense. It's the biggest real piece of anxiety and stress for most high school kids, a lot of high school kids. It's about the the plans for post high school, the college plans. But the mistake is, and this is what I tried not to do. The mistake is when we talk about the future, to only talk about their career choices and their college options. Because ultimately, it's not their future. That's one part. It's a significant key part. But what we want to do actually is widen the perspective, help them widen their perspective, and plan for a life, not just a job. And I'm sure if you're listening to YouSchool podcasts, you're on the same page. Or at least you have some notion that that is right and good. So how do you do that? There's a couple of ways one, we want to help them look backwards. And these are the concepts of trajectory and inertia, that there before they start thinking about their future, they have to recognize that their life is already on a trajectory that's already headed somewhere. And in order to understand where their life is headed, and not just their career, but the type of person they're going to be the kind of impact they're going to make the kind of mark they're going to leave on other people in the world, the kind of family they're going to build and create, that's all flows from their experiences in their past. So first movement, we want to help them have a conversation about where they've been, and where do they think that leads? So that's becoming more conscious, more self aware, as you ask those kinds of questions. Then before this is before we even talk about college or career stuff, we want to help them plan for as they look forward, all those things I just mentioned, their kind of family, the kind of person that kind of impact the kind of characteristics, what people how they'll experience them, we want to help them reflect on and think about the kind of life that they want to live. And if we can help them see the path that they're on from their past, where that's going, if we can help them articulate beliefs, that they have values, they hold on to principles, and ultimately, then dreams and goals and ambitions. If we can help them and we can, you can, you can help them do that. This is possible. This is what you told us. If a young person of high school kid can get clear about those core things, when it comes back to thinking about college choices and career choices. Much much easier. So first mistake, only talking about college and career. Secondly, mistake parents and educators make is to give them your anxiety.
And I get it. I feel anxious about my kids future. Nothing matters more to me than who they become and who they turn into. It is the product and fruit of my entire life and you It is mostly out of my control. So, ergo, anxiety, I feel anxious about that. And when my kid wants to talk, or we have a conversation about their future, it bit brings up big feelings in me. No wonder and it has to for you as well. If you're a teacher or coach or someone else who works with young people to same kind of thing, to a lesser degree, who they are and what they do with their lives, it's, it's a reflection of you. But the mistake that we can make is to give them our anxiety. And that comes through with intensity with the way our eyes look, the questions that we ask things, we say feelings, we emote. Rather, I want to be the kind of parent and mentor and guide, who deals with my own anxiety through things like journal writing, prayer, talking to a friend, taking a walk, dealing with my mental health in other ways, not dumping it on my kid. Third mistake that we can make is to forget, the process is about ongoing self discovery. That's adolescence, that's the teenage years, that's high school, which means your kid is going to have multiple ideas, multiple routes, multiple paths, they're gonna have new insights, things are unfolding, they don't know themselves. And if there's any danger, it would be me at 13-14, having an absolute clarity about where I was going and who I was going to be. That should be a warning sign. If a kid is extremely clear, 13-14, you should know, they're not done yet. They're not fully baked, they haven't understood they don't understand life yet. So this process of ongoing discovery means we don't just pick something and go with it. We keep things open and open handed. So don't have a conversation like that, where we forced them to pick a path at an early age. Another mistake I've made this is probably my biggest error is to essentially just shrug my shoulders and disengage with them. My wife will often ask what, you know, my thoughts on each one of our kids. And ultimately, my message has been, don't worry about it, it's all going to be okay. And and to a large part of There's wisdom in that. What's the point of worrying today about who they're gonna turn into in 10 to 15 years. However, what that turns into, I think my kids have experienced this from me is more like, it doesn't matter. Well, it does matter. And I deal with my anxiety primarily by disengaging and avoiding. So don't make that mistake with your kid. Don't just be like, hey, you'll figure it out. Little Jedi mind trick, don't worry about it, you'll figure it out later. Because that's not always true. Most people don't figure it out, most people don't figure out their lives and who they are and how to be there. Mistake number five, is just being a cheerleader to them. And this is a huge mistake, I see lots of parents making that you would think that your role is primarily with a young person just to say things like you can do it. You're you're already great, you're gonna be great. It'll be easy, you'll figure it out those kinds of platitudes. And cheers are not what kids need. Because that's not the whole truth. And what they need is they need feedback. They need the truth, they need help, they need a mirror, not just someone who says you're awesome, you're going to be awesome, it's all going to work out later. Mistake number six, to only talk about their future when they bring it up. Frankly, every kid has anxiety, they feel the stress of making these life choices. And they hold it internally, primarily holding it away from their family, their parents, because they understand, number one, it's their life, they have to figure it out. And number two, they're going to feel likely if they bring it up our intensity, our anxiety and stress and our worry. So they don't talk about it much if they do, which my son asked me recently, take every opportunity to dig in and engage and give him eye contact and curious questions. But and this is almost an unfortunate, but they need us to ask about it as well, to guide them, to guide them through a series of questions to keep bringing it up. And this might turn into a battle every single time. This might turn into you spiking anxiety and triggering something in them. However they need help over the years. So keep bringing it up not just when they do. Mistake number seven.
Trusting exclusively the resources that they're going to get at school. And they're they're going to get resources at school. Every high school charter, private public has workshops, they offer presentations, they give handouts, emails, your kids are probably They're going to get access to college prep software, they're going to probably have a class to talk about the college essay, they're going to get help and support, they might even get help, like I did have a personality and aptitude test to figure out their career options. But it'd be a mistake to think that the school is going to figure it out for them. And there's a bunch of reasons why, but they need more resources than that they need your resources. Number eight, mistake number eight, that adults make with their kids, they talk about the future is to try to relive your life through them. And the version of this is you made mistakes, you're up a creek down a path that you wish you weren't on, you're not fulfilled or satisfied. And therefore, you put extraordinary pressure on your kids to make choices that you wish you had. And not that those are wrong. And other than bad intentions. But the unhelpful part is the intensity by which you bring it. So pump the brakes, take your foot off the gas pedal, let them make their own choices, which likely is going to include them making mistakes, which is how they learn. Kids learn through bumping up against the limits, they learn from mistakes and failure. That's how you learn to. So let them live their own life. And the final mistake is to try to get them to relive your life. Because you might be on a path that's respectable. It provides, it's, it's sustainable. It's something that you're happy about. And so through those through those glasses through that lens, you look at your kid and say you should do what I've done. But don't do it. Ultimately, what our kids need is for us to come alongside them to be their guides to reflect on our past and what we've learned about all those choices, and those inflection points that we've been through, they need to hear how we thought about things then, and how we think about them. Now, they need to see us model what it looks like to get clear about your beliefs and your principles and your values. And to dream about where you're going. They need to be exposed to the resources that you have friends, relatives, co workers, who would be more than happy to sit and talk with your kid, or to you bring them over to your house for a family dinner and ask them questions that you wish your kid could hear the answers to about the past that they've taken. That's one of the core commitments that we've made for you school is to give students an opportunity to be exposed to multiple different paths of the life story, to hear older people talk about the choices they've made. And it helps open up the aperture and widen the perspective of a kid which doesn't overwhelm them and actually helps them to find themselves through the mirroring effect of listening to other people. So there's a few questions here that you might reflect on in response to this. Which mistakes are you prone to? What work will you do to give your kids what they need? And what would you add to this list? What other mistakes have we not thought about? Your kids need help making a plan for their future. They need someone to guide them. They need the nurturing support for you to know that no matter what they do, you're always going to be with them. And they also need to be challenged with really clear high expectations that their future is theirs theirs to decide. They only get one life. They only get one story they better make it count and make it meaningful. I'll be back next week with another episode of The New School podcast. Hey, thanks for joining in on The YouSchool podcast. We'd love to share with you the resources available on our website at theyouschool.com not just articles, ebooks, worksheets and other podcasts episodes. But specifically you should know about a free course we have available called The Real Me course. It's digital, it's interactive, and it'll guide you to get clear about who you are in a great story you can tell with your life. So go register for free account and get started on The Real Me course today at theyouschool.com That's the you school dot com
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