Posted by: howvoicebegan | 02/10/2011

A 12-Year-Old’s Guide to Careers, Money, and Life

It always amuses me that the children ask me what I want to be when I grow up. I don’t know if it’s because it’s the only way they know how to ask a career-related question, or if they think I’m something in between teenage and adult status. Or maybe they think that working with them is not a full-time job unto itself! Oh, just wait until they are parents….

On the subject of parenthood, one child asked me, “Do you know what I want to be when I grow up?” I said I didn’t, so he filled it in. “I want to be a father,” he told me.
“Great! But how will you take care of your children?”
“By being their father.”
“Right, but you have to get money somehow. What kind of job will you have?”
“I will be a father!”
Seeing that I wasn’t getting anywhere, I switched subjects. “How many children do you want to have?”
Children?!” He asked, astonished. “I am not going to have any children!”
“But, how will you be a father, then? A father has to have children,” I retorted.
He insisted he would be a father without children. Don’t worry; he’s not delusional. This is his sense of humor.

Only a few minutes passed before he breached the subject of careers again. He asked me to decide for him what he should be, and I said I couldn’t make that decision for him; I could only give him ideas to start thinking about. I told him that nursing and teaching English are two very stable, solid careers that would ensure he could take care of his future children- or lack thereof. When it came to discussing possible incomes from those jobs, his eyes lit up.

“Are you saying that I can make a good amount of money from those jobs?” I affirmed his question; the pay may not be the best of all careers, but to a 12-year-old child, it sure sounds like a lot. He was excited. Then a lightbulb went on.

“Wait, let me show you something,” he said. He grabbed the Adventure Bible nearby, flipped a couple of pages, and landed on the verse he was looking for. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

“Are you telling me I should put my treasures on earth instead of in heaven?” He asked. “No, I can’t do that. I must put it in heaven.”

It certainly wasn’t where I was expecting the conversation to go, but I was thrilled to see his mind work through a conversation and then directly put a verse to it. Though he made hasty assumptions about what I was trying to encourage him to do, I was glad to have this lesson- and this time coming from a child. That’s how you know you are doing your job. And, I would rather have the problem of my words being debated against a Bible verse than to have them debate against the values of the Bible.

Children often surprise us with their keen perception, new perspectives, and biblical knowledge. It would probably do us some good to turn the lesson around and learn from them.

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