Aspirations & Dreams of Generations

I was just thinking the other day about kids and their parents. More specifically, what jobs their parents held and their kids took afterwards.

Using my brother as an example, he’s a freelancer of sorts, and my sister-in-law has a PhD.

When I asked their kids what they wanted to become, here were their options:

Astronaut, Surgeon, Doctor, Veterinarian, Hobo…. (just kidding on the last one!)

It made me wonder if it was the influence of their parents to make them name of such (in my mind) high ranking professions.

Casually joking with my sister-in-law, revealed that she expected her children to go to a prestigious business school OR medical school to become… get this… a gynecologist.


Because they make a boatload of money. That’s it.

Not because the work could (perhaps) be interesting to her kid, or fulfilling.

She wants to put one of my nephews into medical school, to specifically become a gynecologist because it makes money.

I gave her the side eye, and joked that he might end up a brilliant artist instead.

She gave me a horrified stare and said: “Don’t even joke about that.

Hmm…. ūüôā

Not every generation has to always be a step up above the other

Generally, that’s what happens, but sometimes parents who are doctors, have kids who are plumbers, and I think that’s all right too.

It’s okay NOT to be a “step up” above what your parents have or haven’t done.

It puts a lot of pressure on kids, without really asking or knowing what they have a real aptitude for.

Maybe being a plumber is the right fit for his skills and talents.

So what if it isn’t being a surgeon?

Plumbers can make a lot of money too, if they work hard, own their own plumbing business, and start a mini empire of hiring other plumbers to work under them.

It isn’t as sexy, but maybe your kid who becomes a plumber or a mechanic, may become smarter about saving his money and running the business efficiently so much so that he might end up having more in the end than his sister who became a surgeon.

Just because it isn’t a white collar job, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to do

Some construction workers can make $30/hour, as an average wage, depending on experience I think.

They work hard, and it may not be behind a desk pushing pencils and papers, but it requires skills and a knowledge of what has to get done, that takes time to learn.

And I daresay, not everyone can do that job, no matter how “easy” it might seem.

They can even go on to get certified in how to handle a crane or other specialty equipment, and earn even MORE money per hour.

So what if they don’t “save lives” directly with their jobs?

They’re still improving society in other ways — making sure the roads are properly cared for to minimize accidents, and doing their job for the city.

And they CAN become well-respected and well-known in their industry for doing a good job, on time, on budget and carefully.

Perhaps, they’d even open their own construction business and make a killing. It happens.

Trade skills are really undervalued

Plumbers, Electricians, Construction Workers, Carpenters… the list goes on.

There are plenty of jobs available for those who have the aptitude for those careers, and telling your kid: if you don’t become a doctor, you’re a failure.. is just ludicrous.

The kid might end up going to medical school, or becoming a doctor.. but is he doing it to please his parents, or to please himself?

Maybe he was better suited to become an electrician instead.

But because his parents had certain expectations of what their kids SHOULD become, based on what jobs they themselves are currently working, the kid ends up facing a midlife crisis about who he is at the age of 40.

Just because you have a job as a [insert job here] doesn’t mean your kid will do the same

Skills are different between each individual.

Yes, based on socio-economic factors such as income, class, wealth.. bla bla bla… kids can have better opportunities to “rise in the ranks”.

But just because her mom and dad are both successful lawyers, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she will automatically become a successful lawyer.

Her parents can push her, and encourage her into those kinds of “suitable” paths, with the resources on hand… but in the end, she’s a different individual, and a different person than her parents.

She follows in the same values and the footsteps as her parents as much as possible, but perhaps she wants to become a social worker instead, because that’s her calling.

Let them be kids and dream.

Kids can be encouraged to find their passions through their hobbies at a young age.

But if they show an inclination towards the arts instead of science, I’d let them be.

They may not end up artists, but squashing that dream so early on, and putting the pressure on them to become a scientist instead of an artist, is not (in my opinion) giving your kid the best support and encouragement possible.

It’s kind of what my parents did with us.

They had no expectations of us becoming doctors, scientists or lawyers.

In fact, my mother wanted me to become an artist.

They just let us be, and we ended up finding our own paths into our dream jobs.

Have you ever been pushed by your parents or by others to go into a career or profession?

Did it work out for the best, or for the worst?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.