Letting your kids pursue a creative path isn't the worst thing in the world


Things were very different 30, or even 5 years ago, and when I say different, I mean in every aspect of life.

But for the sake of this argument, let’s look at just how different life was and is for millennials compared to Generation X, i.e. how different things were for me, born in 1993, compared to my parents.

Millennial life

In my youth I was obsessed with Spice Girls, even though it was a little bit before my time. And then I moved on to wanting to wear ties over my t-shirts because the then-great punk rocker Avril Lavigne was doing it. When I started high school though, things drastically changed when I got my own cellphone and discovered iTunes and the magical and endless internet.

Needless to say, my taste in music changed and I like to think, improved, with all the new and exciting possibilities for exploration that the internet brought.

This is a very basic example, but the point I am trying to make is that the world and life was suddenly different and things just weren't and aren’t the same as they used to be. And with new and exciting opportunities, we simply cannot ignore the fact that the workforce, or rather, the kind of work that we can do now and has become important, is a lot different to the kind of work our parents were doing then.

Also read: How the smartphone affected an entire generation of kids

Michael Price, an entrepreneur and author of What Next? The Millennial’s Guide To Surviving and Thriving in the Real World explains:

“Prior to Generation X you could get and maintain a well-paying job and stay there for 20-40 years. Those days are long gone. As we move from one generation to the next, parents pass along life advice to their children hoping to inspire them to achieve what they did and more. That was the model for parenting and it worked up until now. The problem is the world moves much faster nowadays… Thirty years ago a parent would love for nothing more than for their child to grow up and pursue a career as a lawyer or a doctor. Thirty years ago those careers were hot. They were well paying and prestigious. This isn’t necessarily the case anymore.”

So before we dismiss the idea of letting our kids pursue a creative path because it may not pay very well and they might struggle to get a job, we should consider that the world is changing, or rather, evolving.

Also read: The future of learning: applying artificial intelligence to education

Doing what you love and loving what you do

Luckily, I had very supportive parents who encouraged me to do what I love and first pursue my photography, and then journalism. But within the Indian Muslim community, I was often asked why I wasn’t studying medicine and why I didn’t pursue a career in commerce because I had the marks to get into those courses. And while I don’t doubt that these are rewarding and to some, the perfect choice, it wasn’t for me. Blood makes me queasy and I am Jacob Zuma when it comes to reading out numbers. I just wasn’t the right fit.

From a very young age I was told to follow my dreams, and so I did. There are those classic “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” and “Build a life you don’t need a vacation from” quotes. Which makes sense, because before most anything else, you should be happy.

What’s the use of having a job that pays well but has you constantly staring at a clock, from 9 to 5 every day, only to have you drive home in your fancy car and cashmere clothes in tears?

First of all, mascara stains.

And second, you shouldn’t pursue something you hate just for the money.

Also read: Minding the gap: When Generation Z joins the workplace

Drawing up a plan and setting goals

That being said, I understand that financially you’d want your kids to earn, and earn well, so that they can be financially independent one day. So while we all want to believe in the many artistic talents that our kids possess, it’s important to also consider the implications of pursuing a creative path.

More often than not, it takes a big break to make it as a musician, Disney animation artist or any kind of creative. I too sent in application after application and various examples of my work before securing a job.

So I propose, sitting down with your kids, asking them what they want to do and drawing up a plan to make it happen.

Before you say no to their dreams, set a few goals and deadlines for those goals, and if it is meant to be and they give it everything they’ve got, well, there you go: happiness and success.

And if it doesn’t, you’ll know that you encouraged them to follow their dreams as any good parent should, and they’ll know that you supported them in pursuing what they love.

But again, that being said, more and more opportunities are opening up for creative types in a constantly evolving world.

So ultimately, we all want the same thing: for our kids to be strong, stable and happy.

And all I’m saying is letting your creative child pursue a creative path may not be the worst thing in the world.

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Do you have any useful tips to share with the Parent24 readers on how they can talk to their creative child about the future? Tell us by emailing to chatback@parent24.com and we may publish your comments.

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