Pre-school Graduation and Thoughts About My Son’s Future

I recently sat (and cried) thinking about pre-school graduation and thoughts about my son’s future. Graduations are a milestone that are celebrated in honor of one chapter closing, and embarking upon the next. The next chapter holds the anticipation of hope, and the unknown.  It is such a wonderful feeling to be at the very first steps of a new adventure.

My 5 year old graduated pre-school last month, and he is ready to take on kinder and the world of bus rides, recess, packed lunches, and field trips. When asked about his future, as expected, he wavers between stepping on the moon as an astronaut, putting out blazing flames as a fireman, and on days he’s feeling especially bold, Spiderman.

But all this future talk really has me thinking about what I envision for his future and what I want for him, knowing what I know about the world we live in. Will I be the parent who inadvertently nudges my child toward one career path over the other? Subliminally encouraging him in the direction of my own definition of success?

Personally, I chose a “non-traditional” occupation from the viewpoint of the South Asian community.  I remember my parents trying to convince me astray when I had announced that I wanted to go into the field of education. I was shocked since I had just stated I wanted to go into the noble profession of teaching. I wanted to have a deeper impact on society, and I was being asked to provide clarification for my decision, as though they did not hear me say it clearly enough.

I remember the side eye’d glances, whispers, and the delayed…”oooh”s from the aunties and uncles.  I simply did not make a choice for my life that they expected.  I quickly learned that I should be ready with a justification and that did not feel good.  

To be honest, it felt unfair.  

Fields such as teaching, fashion, beauty, sports, media, wedding/event planning to name a few were all considered non-traditional and subject to that side eye look. For those bold peers of mine back then who chose to follow a passion into entrepreneurship – creating an entire pathway of their own – kudos.  That could not have been easy.

Consider how the spectrum has shifted now. We must admit how much our world has changed in recent decades. With the presence (onslaught?) of social media, we are observing young people taking roads to success (mega success) in ways which we never thought possible or conceivable.  And none, not one single ounce of it, requires a 4 year degree, let alone the 3-5 years past undergrad, which many of us have pursued. It certainly doesn’t require paying a lifetime of loans back.

I see it all around me. Influencers are monetizing off their style, beauty, lifestyle, and parenting tips and advice; self made artists, designers, and comedians with a following of 100K+ on the gram and tiktok. All they need is their raw talent, personality, and a means to share on a global platform. I’m so inspired by it and at 35, I spend quite a bit of time on my own blog, in hopes of it blowing up one day.

I cannot say with 100% certainty that I would fully embrace my son telling me someday that school isn’t for him, and that he plans to fulfill his dream as a tiktokker. Instead, I will most likely encourage him to stay passionate about hobbies and interests, but not fully ditch the 4 year college route. I guess I believe in having a back up plan. But, who knows! I am willing to keep an open mind and I am grateful that our children will have more opportunity by the means of non traditional AND traditional paths to success.  

What are your thoughts?

-Payal Desai, Associate Editor @thechaimommas You can follow Payal at @payalforstyle on Instgram for all the style finds!!

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