Devising a plan for adulthood | COLUMN

Our youngest son has just completed university. For the first time in his life, the next step is not clearly defined.

What to do? How to get a job? How to be an adult? He has been asking questions about how my siblings and I decided on a path and how we determined the route.

How did we move from soldier settler farm kids to professionals and why? I chose to gain a tertiary education rather than a specific profession. I just knew I wanted to learn more ideas, different ideas, big ideas in which I could immerse myself.

My son’s questions have made me reflect on the environment which promoted this for me. I had parents who valued education in spite of, or inspired by, the fact that they had left school during their intermediate year (Year 10).

That was not an unusual for people of my parents’ generation but they recognized that education or training equipped you to gain a better standard of living.

There were books in our home, our mother read to us as children and Dad took me to the public library on a weekly basis. We earned pocket money which we frequently spent on comics, and later magazines, and books.

In such an environment and being the personalities that we kids were, our minds were open and active.

We soaked up stories, facts, puzzles, song lyrics and played with language as an inherent toy designed for our pleasure. There is a degree of parental agony in watching your offspring struggle with the moving parameters of determining an adult life.

One which ensures an enriching work life balanced with recreation, establishing a moral code, maintaining friendships as well as developing a much deeper relationship with a chosen mate.

How your background supports you to attain your destiny is, I believe, fundamental. I hope that my husband and I have, and still do, provide a supportive base for our sons; that we are a reference point to which they can return and pose questions, test their thinking, and sketch out possibilities.

I am deeply moved by their acts of generosity and support for others. I ache for them when they are let down and I glory in them when they are riding life’s waves of well-being.

My hope is that we have provided a background that will allow them to pursue the destiny of their choosing. –