Sometimes when I speak to a group of home educating parents about careers for their children, I like to do a little experiment. I ask how many of them have a post-secondary education. Then I ask how many of them are actually working in the field in which they were trained. Usually a majority of the parents have post-secondary education, but a large proportion of them are not working in the field they trained for. Then I ask how many of them are employed and enjoy what they’re doing. Normally the vast majority of those employed enjoy what they’re doing.
There’s a lesson here. A lot of the parents are post-secondary educated, but most of them are not working in the field in which they were trained, yet most of them are gainfully employed and enjoying what they’re doing. Who’s responsible for having acquired the education in the wrong field? The individual. Who’s responsible for having directed them to that place where they can be contented at work? The Lord. So it seems like God has things under control, whereas we don’t.
There is a common view that anybody can be anything they want to be, but this is not true. People need to have a God-given aptitude for the career they choose. They can only be who God created them to be in the first place. They must make career decisions in keeping with who they are. They cannot be somebody else.
There’s also a prevailing view that higher education means greater success. Higher education is certainly beneficial. The more education someone can achieve the better, but it’s not a guarantee that he or she is going to be more successful in life.
When it comes to careers, the world has a particular, vertical, hierarchy of importance. The person with a PhD is considered to be better or more important than the person who has only a master’s degree and the master’s degree holder is considered to be better or more important than the person with only a bachelor’s degree, or that university trained people are better than tradesmen and tradesmen are in turn better than labourers. But God does not see it that way. He sees things on a horizontal level where everybody is important.
There is no job or career that is more important than the other. Where would the person with a PhD be if there was nobody to fix his malfunctioning toilet? Where would that person be if there was nobody to deliver the goods that he needs to do his job? God’s view recognizes that every legitimate task is necessary and valuable. God is not so much concerned about what job you do but that you do it well, whatever it may be.
So it is important to understand that God does not call parents to prepare their children for college, but to prepare them for life. There’s a big difference, both here and in the life to come, even if college is one of the steps taken along the way. The parents’ job is to encourage children to be the best that they can be and to direct them with an eye to the future in keeping with their gifts, talents, abilities and interests.
The greatest pleasure in life is the ultimate knowledge of having served Him. Everybody can serve God in whatever they do if they understand that they are working as unto the Lord and not for selfish gain. A neurosurgeon is no more important to God than the trash collector, yet both can either honour Him or not through their dedication to their work and how they present it before God.
In the end, the ultimate question will be “what did you do with the gifts and talents that I gave you?” Choose to glorify God in whatever you do. There is no higher calling. There is no better place to find contentment and purpose.