If I Could Do It All Over Again

Published on: 09:43AM Sep 06, 2014

 I've got young relatives who are entering their senior year of high school. They're trying to decide what to do with the rest of their lives, what college to attend, what career to choose. None of them asked me my opinions on how to plan the rest of their lives; none of them should. Part of the challenge of growing up is learning to make decisions, and learning to deal with the mistakes that often result from those decisions.

But if they DID ask my opinion, I'd make several comments:

-If you're going to college, know WHY you're going to college. You can go to college to get training for a career (engineering, teaching, etc.) or you can go to college for the experience of going to college (liberal arts degree, history degree, etc.). Either one is a good reason to go to college, but don't mistake one for the other.

-Not everyone should go to college, but everyone needs training after high school. High school doesn't prepare you for a job or career. The training may be an on-the-job apprenticeship, or the training may be a tech school certificate. Whatever the case, don't think you're done learning just because you've got a high school diploma.

-"If you love what you do you'll never work a day in your life." That's a wonderful quote and a great goal, but most people end up working in a job they can barely tolerate on some days. Other days, they can't believe they get paid to do their job. If you can on a daily basis go to sleep at night feeling good about what you did all day, that's not a bad job.

-Never underestimate yourself. You have skills, talents and gifts that you haven't yet discovered. Try everything. You'll never know what your gift is, what secret talent you have, until you try it. Every person has one thing that "clicks" for them. You may have a gift for music, or a talent for understanding gear ratios in transmissions, or the ability to work with livestock. But you may not discover that gift until later in life. Never stop looking, searching and trying new things.

-Finally, if you determine what you want to do with your life within six months after you graduate high school, congratulations. But if you aren't sure what you want to "be," and have to move through several jobs, education changes or other life events before you find your niche in life--enjoy the search. My wife spent her early years in a series of jobs that drove her crazy--bookkeeper, babysitter, salesman, etc.  Only after she got her teaching degree and excelled as an elementary school teacher did she realize that all those early jobs were God's way of preparing her for the job she was meant to have.