Let children choose their career

Gone are the days when parents wished their offspring would study to become a teacher, nurse or a lawyer, or so I thought.

During apartheid, pickings were limited for black folks, although some did manage to become engineers, doctors, accountants, etc.

However, since democracy, the sky is the limit for anyone with the right marks to further their studies in professions our forebears barely knew existed. And the advent of technology has bred careers that did not even exist two decades ago.

So, imagine my surprise when my daughter asked me to intercede on her friend’s behalf because her parents were threatening to disown her for her choice of study.

Many an actor tells a story of horror when their parents heard they wanted to pursue a career on stage or television. According to the dinosaurs, you can’t make a living out of acting.

My daughter’s friend went off to varsity this year and her parents were under the impression she was studying law when she had registered for diploma in performing arts in theatre and design.

Psychologists often warn parents not to live their dreams through their offspring. You cannot harangue your child to be a soccer star to fulfill your own dreams when your kid actually wants to be a disc jockey. Some mothers are known to put make up on their little princesses to prepare them for a life on the ramp.

With a potpourri of careers now available, it is criminal to channel your child against their wishes to pursue something they are not passionate about. Yes, South Africa needs more teachers, nurses, doctors, social workers and artisans, to mention but a few.

But we are all familiar with horror stories of graduates who cannot find employment in those fields because a department does not have a budget for social development or a municipality has entrusted its sewer works to a comrade with barely a matric.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has spawned careers in robotics, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and many more previously unimaginable fields.

So, as South Africa spent Tuesday human righting, I found myself having lunch with the parents of my daughter’s friend to convince them there is more to performing arts than acting and that their daughter could well be the next Thuso Mbedu, who’ll sweep Broadway off her feet.

I laid it on pretty thick and I was delighted when they finally agreed to withdraw the threat of not funding her studies

All careers matter for those with enough passion.

Follow @SundayWorldZA on Twitter and @sundayworldza on Instagram, or like our Facebook Page, Sunday World, by clicking here for the latest breaking news in South Africa. To Subscribe to Sunday World, click here

Latest News