Jeff and I wanted this summer to be productive for JJ. He just wanted a summer job. At 15, he was at the age where boys want their own money to buy, well…stuff. We’re so glad he reached that conclusion instead of getting a case of the “gimmes” (gimme this, gimme that).
We didn’t want a summer job to take up his whole summer, though. As strongly as we believe in the benefit of hard work, we also don’t want JJ to maintain a busy bee mentality. We encouraged him to time to think about who he is, who he wants to be, and how he can help others.
That’s a tall order for one summer, so we looked for solutions that worked for him. He had two short-term summer jobs: one in cleaning and another in sales auditing. Let me just say: the cleaning job upgraded his house chores and made him complain (less) about doing them. Goooal!
I asked JJ to write a list of all the careers he was interested in having in the future. Based on the list, we brainstormed about who we knew did related work and he asked to shadow them for a half or full day. Man, did that pay off! He got an inside look at the day-to-day routines of each role and so many people were willing to speak with him, share useful books and websites, and to follow up with him if he needed more information.
As for Project Introspection, we had a series of continuous talks and activities to get him thinking about his goals. The activities include writing a goal list (short term and long term). This is a more on-going topic, but in preparing for this, we decided that he would not be involved in school activities during his junior year. He is still very involved in volunteer work, but AP classes + school activities seemed like a heavy load. Last year was incredibly busy for him, so we decided to clear his schedule by only leaving the academics. Without all the extra activities, he can be more selective in deciding what he wants to add to his schedule next year instead of trying to maintain the status quo.
Being busy does not equal success. It just means one is busy.
As the summer break comes to an end, we now have a 16 boy who is walking a path and we’re so excited to see where it will take him.