My husband and I chose a different path than most regarding higher education and the job market; and we choose to speak a different path to our children.
In short, we tell them to:
“KILL YOUR DREAMS."
I’m serious…lovingly…we do! As youth leaders for years, my husband and I poured into teenagers who were really amazing people— but a lot of whom were also incredibly entitled. They wouldn’t work here or there because it wasn’t cool enough or it didn’t pay exactly enough money. I still know a few of them today...and do you know what? Most of them have spent significant time living unhappily-ever-after in their parent’s basements looking for that "perfect job which pays exactly enough money." Their 4-year degrees, unused, because they either don’t want or are unwilling to do the jobs that require their particular degree. Or conversely, they can’t find an employer desperate for a “Universal Studies” major.
It all boils down to two things:
How you define “life-success," and what you see as the purpose of a job.
How do you define “life-success” in your homeschool?
- Make a lot of money.
- Have a big house.
- Have a nice car.
- Go on 2 vacations per year?
Before I became a follower of Christ, my list looked just like this. But over the nearly 15 years I’ve been a Christian, God has done some heavy-duty demo in my heart (praise Jesus!). Today, through His love and guidance my list looks more like this:
- Surrender completely.
- Give more away than I keep.
- Raise children who are madly in love with Christ and follow Him no matter what He asks.
- Live thankfully for every blessing and even many sorrows because of what they teach us about Christ.
If I can tick off all of those things by the end of my life, then I will have succeeded. And if my kids grow up and do the same thing, you can just write “NAILED IT” on my epitaph.
My kids have an awesome example of killing their dreams in my husband’s life. My hubby always wanted to be a full-time musician. Not because the Lord told Him to, but just because He wanted to be one.
But my wise husband has learned to Kill His Dreams. Why? Because only when our dreams are out of the way and nailed to the Cross, can Jesus’s dreams for us be realized and acted upon. My husband never went to a day of college. Right before we got married, he gave up the full-time musician dream and started working at a bank. And to be honest, most of the first 6 years of that job stunk.
But because God shifted the way we think about jobs, he was able to tough out YEARS of A.W.F.U.L. work situations. He stuck with it because loving his job wasn’t as important to him as obeying God, feeding his growing family, or growing God’s Kingdom. He started at the bottom of the totem pole as a teller, with no banking experience. Since then, he has worked with integrity and honesty. And now, 9 years into banking, my husband (with no college degree) is the manager of two banks! Because of his “boring” dream-killing job, we’ve been able to give crazy amounts of money to missions, our local church, orphans, widows and other amazing ministries over the years, not to mention adopting our own precious daughter. None of this would have been possible if he were on the road 47-weeks/yr. on a tour van with 7 other dudes.
And awesomely, my husband leads worship at our church and is more passionate about music than ever! It’s not about a slip of paper with BS written at the top of it (no pun intended). It’s about how hard you’re willing to work, and how much manure you’re willing to wade in (for YEARS) because it’s not about you. It’s about Jesus and His family who live in your house, and His Kingdom who live right next door.
There. I've said it. And I tell that to my kids all the time.
In ye olden-days people worked for two reasons:
#1: To not die
#2: To help their family not die.
Throughout history, people never had this huge angst-riddled decision about whether to be a graphic designer or an engineer. Usually, they just did what their parents did. And that was good enough!
Most of the rest of the world still work for those very same two reasons.
Now, you might love your job. That’s SUPER fortunate! But your job isn’t, nor was it ever meant to be the meaning of your life—it’s meant to feed your family and to be a conduit pipe for Jesus’ blessing to the broken, lost, and hurting in this world so that they can see Christ living today through the hands and feet of His followers.
Can you do that as a stay-at-home mom? You bet. Can you do that as a sanitation worker? Absolutely! But maybe God IS calling you to do something that requires a big degree—like being a nurse or CPA or city planner! Then you go do it! You get that 4…or...5-year degree. But do it because God said so; because it works into HIS dream somehow and not just because “that’s what people do."
As of right now, one of my children wants to be a stay-at-home mom and the other wants to be a missionary. Neither of these jobs requires a degree, but both will change the whole world. And I am one proud mama!
Let go of your dreams.
And encourage your children to think differently about the purpose of their future career. You’ll never regret it; because in the space where your/their dream was, Jesus’s plan can unfold, and it will always be bigger, more hairy and more audacious than that paltry dream you had for yourself ever was.
Krista Smith is the adoring wife to an amazing man and together they have three beautiful children (two biological, one adopted from Japan). Krista is privileged to homeschool them using an eclectic variety of methods. She has a deep and abiding love for Coke, tan-colored coffee, Star Wars and all things Lord of the Rings (the family minivan’s license plate may even be in elvish. Nerd. Just sayin’). But above all of these things, Krista is, first and foremost, a lover and follower of Jesus Christ! So, may the Lord and His Gospel get every ounce of honor and glory and credit for anything she writes, says or does.