Hint: Yesterday’s article focused on daughters. Today’s focuses on sons. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take all this stuff here and apply it to your daughter. Everything below I’ve done with my two daughters as well.
Hammers, saws, guitars, drums, stethoscopes, and Bibles are all things my son sneaks into his backpack to take to preschool. They are his go to pay items: I mean, besides Iron Man, Captain America, Spiderman, Tigger, and Pluto.
And almost every day he tells me one of three things. I want to be at Grandpa and Grandma’s. I want to be at Disney World. Or I want to be…Handy Manny, a doctor, a guitar player, or a pastor.
I guess this could go any number of ways. He could do a combo of doctor and handy man and be a surgeon. I’ve suggested that. He’s got a really steady hand, but he doesn’t like the idea of cutting into flesh. I’ve suggested a worship pastor. He’s still trying to wrap his brain around what that is. He is only three after all.
No matter what he does, I’m going to be super proud of him. Why? Because he’s my son. You know what I mean.
As I think about helping your son figure out his vocation — I can’t help but think that it doesn’t matter how young they are — they’re never too young to coach them and help think through what they love to do and what they might do for a lifetime.
Here’s a few things I’ve done with my three year old boy.
1. Take him to work.
Remember to take your kid to work day. I do. I loved doing this with my dad. A couple times a year, I’ve taken Asher with me on a road trip of meetings. Last year we went to Evanston to meet our churches church planter there. This year I took him on a tour of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and to meet a friend of mine in Libertyville that also is interested in church planting. Both times were a lot of fun for the two of us. He loved being with dad for a day, and everyone we met loved seeing him. It was fun.
2. Encourage him with his interests.
Is your son interested in tools, musical instrument, books, planes? Whatever he is interested in make sure to reinforce it by giving him access to play, imagine, create with those things. Let his excitement grow and see what stuff he holds interest and what stuff he loses interest in. It’s entertaining to see the cycles, to see what enflames their interests, and help them manage the feeling when interest wanes.
3. Show him the opportunities.
When your son develops interest in a new hobby or has a new idea about a vocation, find ways to open up his world to that hobby or vocation. Look for YouTube videos or shows that talk about that vocation or hobby. Take him to see and meet real people doing that work. When you’re driving and he sees a firetruck, dump truck, train, or plane, go vocation chasing with him. And if he wants to be a storm chaser, use caution my friend. Don’t get too close to a twister.
And don’t forget to expand his world on vocations. Show him about space because we’re going to Mars now and we need more pilots to get us all there. Help him see the power of computers, engineering, the sciences, and the arts. Take him to museums, the zoo, amusement parks, and sporting venues. A lot of these things you might already be doing. Just do them and plant seeds as you do. Ask questions about his interest or what he thinks about the profession or event. Find out what sparks his interest more.
Proverbs 22:6 and Vocation
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Your role as a dad is helping your children in the way that they should go. Yes, altogether too often this text is compartmentalized to the aspect of vocation. That is grievous. This verse is about so much more than vocation. It’s about being a son of God, a husband, a father, and a worker. It’s a holistic verse that covers all of life.
Nonetheless, it is not that it has nothing to do with vocation either. This verse is critically point to the role of a parent to love his or her children and raise them to honor God and his or her family. That includes finding a vocation and following the call of that vocation.
This post first appeared at Joey’s blog and is posted here with his permission.