What would you do if your child isn’t college bound in the way you want her to be? It’s a question we, as educators and moms, often ask ourselves. We like to think of ourselves as open to options, meeting students where they are and nurturing passion over potential monetary gain, but with younger children, it’s probably easy for us to say this now, about other people’s children.
It’s a tough place to be – wanting something for your child, believing in her potential, but knowing those expectations don’t match her plan. I met with a student recently whose dream is to be a cartoon artist, end of story. She doesn’t see the value of a four-year college for her chosen craft (which by the way, she demonstrates amazing talent) and instead would rather go to a non-traditional art school where she may or may not get a degree. There are of course many, many arguments to be made for earning a Bachelors: perfecting her skills, developing new skills, strengthening her writing, developing a more well-rounded foundation, many jobs require a degree for consideration etc. And at the same time, as I sat there with this student and her parents, who fought the plan every step of the way, I suppose I did understand the student’s logic. “Why spend money,” she said, “on an expensive private school I don’t want to go to, when I could take a couple of art classes, get a part-time job and start submitting my work. Then I can see if I can make it in this field.”