It is grad season. This year my youngest daughter graduates from kindergarten and my son from Grade 12.

The Kindergarten graduation ceremony concluded with each student receiving a diploma. As they walked up to the front of the class the teacher reported what the students indicated they wanted to “be” when they grew up. Many of the students reported wanting to be a policeman or a nurse or a … just like their Mom or Dad.  Other students chose a different path, but most still shot an approval-seeking glance in their parents direction as their choice was read out. One student indicated he wanted to be a super-hero. I whispered to my wife “that is the most sensible thing I have heard so far.”

How probable is it that any of these students will go on to the careers they choose at the time of Kindergarten graduation?

Is it more probable that the children indicating a desire to follow in their parents foot-steps will go on to those careers?

How do parents influence the career choices of their children?

When do parents start to have this influence?

How does a parents anxiety over what their kids are going to “do” when they grow up impact who they will “be” when they grow up?

I am writing this post on the eve of my sons grade 12 graduation ceremony. I am looking forward to hearing the diversity of plans the graduates have for their futures. The graduates will go on to “do” many different things, but my wish for the graduating class of 2018 is that they will all go on to “be” super-heros.  I define super-hero as a person who has achieved an emotional maturity level, on a scale of 1-100, of greater than 90. Markers of this level of emotional maturity include:

  • principle oriented and goal-directed
  • sure of beliefs and convictions but is not dogmatic in his/her thinking
  • capable of hearing and evaluating the viewpoints of others and can discard old beliefs in favor of new ones
  • mostly unaffected by either praise or criticism and looks inward for validation
  • responsible for self and sure of his/her responsibility to others
  • seeks to learn within relationships rather than to get something from others
  • able to tolerate the intense emotionality of others without sacrificing principle to accommodate immature needs

No matter what you do, strive to be a super-hero!

To the Turtleford Graduating Class of 2018 – you have no further to look than your Principal as a role model. Colleen Nelson – you are a true Super-Hero.