Remember when you were in high school, and going onto the next steps was the most important thing? It seemed like all anybody talked about was where they were going to university (because no one talked about other pathways), what they would be studying and their epic plans for the future.
You know what we didn’t talk about? What we would do with the other 128 hours in the week.
I don’t think things have changed that much. Have you ever had a conversation about your kids about having a rich, balanced life? Or your own successes and struggles with doing that? We don’t talk to them about hobbies and interests and time spent outside of work. (At least, not as much as we talk to them about how they need to keep their grades up to get into university and get a good job – all of which is a whole other blog post!).
Why do you think that is? Are we worried they won’t be motivated if we take their eyes off the prize? Do we assume they’ll just figure it out? Given the all-time-high number of mental health issues among Millennials and Gen Zs, it would seem that talking about having a healthy work-life balance is pretty important.
Life outside of work
You are more than your job. At least, I firmly believe you should be. Your kids probably know what your hobbies are. I’m guessing they know when you have poker night or book club or you’re at the gym. (Or these days, when you’re shutting the door to Zoom your book club meeting or do a Facebook Live workout.)
But do they know why you do those things?
Let’s say you have jam sessions with your buddies, and you’ve written a few songs and maybe even done a few regional freebie performances with your band. Have you talked to your kids about why you never pursued a career in music?
If you’re a knitter, crocheter or crafter, you probably get some incredible creative satisfaction out of doing the work, and having beautiful gifts to share with loved ones. Do your kids know what that feels like for you?
Do they know why you belong to your bowling, squash or pickup hockey league?
Try talking to them about that. I promise you, that’s a conversation they’ll benefit from in the long run. Too often, our kids get bogged down in tying their interests to a career, and it ends up freezing them. Getting a sense of other outlets for their talents and abilities might just help take the pressure off of trying to find the perfect match between job titles and interests.