Career Choice: A Parent’s Dilemma

My son, Kevin, is 16 and he just finished the 10th grade. It’s hard to imagine him that old. It seemed like just yesterday we were playing Bakugan Brawl, Yu-Gi-Oh, or racing his Hot Wheels cars down our driveway. It didn’t seem long ago that I saw him riding his Razor scooter in front of our house. Now, my wife, Quyen, and I are talking to our son about getting his driver’s permit.

Kevin just started a Japanese class at Grossmont College this summer because he found out taking one college course is equivalent to two years of high-school credit. He is really into Anime so he jumped at the opportunity to take Japanese. 

I have asked him about studying Chinese, and Quyen has suggested Vietnamese but it was like trying to get him to the dentist for a root canal. This isn’t the case with the Japanese course. Kevin is taking it with a friend from high school, and they stay on campus after class to do their homework. Our son makes flashcards to go over his vocabulary, and there are times he chooses to study Japanese instead of watching YouTube videos at home. What I’ve learned is that Kevin puts a lot more effort into his work when he chooses the class. 

Our son is at the age where he is beginning to think about a career and I cannot tell you what he is going to end up doing. He and I are so different. I studied social work and counseling to find out what makes people tick, and after earning a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s in counseling, I’m still not sure. 

Kevin isn’t into solving the riddle of the human mind. He is into video games, and if he could somehow manage it, he would probably make a career out of playing. I don’t want to douse his flame, but I have a hard time picturing an employer paying someone to play League of Legends or Counter Strike: Global Offensive

The counselor in me wants to encourage him to pick a career he loves. The parent in me wants him to study a subject that is going to allow him to eat every once in a while whenever he decides to live on his own. 

That’s the struggle I’m dealing with: encourage my son to pursue his passion or try to steer him toward something more realistic? I’m not sure I have the answer.