My ex-husband sent me a bunch of pictures of our son lying under a sink the other day. He’s been working about forty-five hours a week with him all summer learning the plumbing trade, saving for a car, and having the time of his life bonding with the other men on the job site.
He’s in is element, that’s obvious by the way he gets up early, is ready to go and wakes his father up to get to work. He installed a few kitchen faucets the other day and now sets toilets on his own.
He likes getting dirty, moving his body, and feeling accomplished after taking a step back and looking at his work product.
My Son is Learning a Trade, Something He Loves
He’s proud that after a few months’ work, he’ll be able to go out and buy a car on his own without his parent’s financial help. He likes using his mind and his hands and putting the two together makes him feel proud, happy, and satisfied.
I don’t know many adults who feel this way about their daily job–there certainly aren’t many of us who wake up early to get ready for work, so excited to get to it, that we couldn’t sleep in if we tried.
My son doesn’t like school, and there isn’t even a slice of him that wants to go to college and continue sitting in a desk, listening to lectures, and studying.
While we are always going to encourage him to keep his options open, I have a feeling we will not be announcing his college acceptance to family and friends or on social media.
Instead, I think my son will graduate from high school and continue doing what he loves. He will go on to get the hours he needs to get his master plumbing license and possibly take over his father’s business someday.
He will not have student loans. He will be working full time and he will be earning enough money straight out of high school to afford a nice apartment, and possibly a house within a few years.
Announcing that your child isn’t going to college isn’t the norm, I know. But that needs to change.
Not every child wants to go to school. There are those who need to take a different path by traveling, working, or going to trade school in order to get to know themselves better because let’s be honest, it’s a rare 18-year old who knows what they want the rest of their life to be like. And man, once you decide on a major and enroll in school you better be sure because most children and their parents will be paying for that decision for a long time.
If my son, or any of my kids, want to go to college, my ex-husband and I are all in. But the same holds true if they don’t. There are so many options for high school graduates out there and we spend so much energy pushing college down their throats, no wonder not many are taking advantage of alternative paths.
The stigma around not going to college needs to end. Taking a different path needs to be normalized and while college acceptance announcements are great and should be celebrated, so should all the other life and career choices our kids make.
They are the future, and there’s no reason to make them feel like they need to be confined to decisions that make them fit into a box society has created.
Also, I’m over the moon about having my son learn plumbing skills even if he doesn’t pursue it as a career because man, a good plumber is hard to find.
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