Monday, December 10, 2012

Mindful Parenting: Majors that Make a Difference (Guest Post)

How to Help Your Child Choose a Major That Will Make a Difference
As concerned parents, we hope that our children grow up to make a difference in the world. However, that goal starts with us. If you only raise your child to care about money, they probably won't seek to help anyone but themselves. Starting when they are young, you should make a conscious effort to lead your child down a path that will help them better the world and/or the people in it. One of the best ways to ensure they do so is to encourage them to major in a field that will facilitate this goal. If your child is about to leave for college, it's not too late yet, but if your child is still young, you have a great deal of opportunities  before you.

Youth Classes
Even when they are small, enroll your kids in classes that teach them about the importance of helping other people. Religious education courses generally accomplish this mission. Even if you're not a religious parent, you can likely appreciate the message of helping humanity that they will learn. Scouting groups may also go on expeditions to clean up a local park, as would local environmental groups for youngsters. If no groups in your community are to your liking, take it upon yourself to go out and teach them about giving themselves. Travel with them, volunteer with them and always capitalize on learning opportunities.

Encourage Environmental Friendliness
One of the ways in which your child may choose to make a difference is by supporting green movements to protect the environment. Incorporate these strategies into your home to teach children about their importance. Follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, turn off all of the lights when you are not using them, be sure to recycle, and do not waste water. As children age, introduce them to the concept of global warming, and allow them to attend local or state meetings with you that address this subject. Do not be pushy though. If they express no interest in such a career, simply seek to educate, rather than push a career on them.

Job Shadow
"Making a difference" is a term that encompasses so many fields. Teachers and tutors change the way their students perceive material, and firefighters and police officers ensure that individuals stay safe on the streets and in their homes. Social workers and psychologists walk people through the tough emotional issues in their lives, and the list goes on and on. To fully expose your child to all that he or she can pursue, find out if any shadowing opportunities are available in the community. For a day, your student could follow a professional around to see what he or she does, and hopefully absorb the differences they're making on a daily basis.

Some colleges are more geared toward majors that will help to make a difference in the world as a whole. For example, a Christian university may require all of the students to participate in volunteer work on a regular basis or, at the least, once or twice during their stay at the school. Additionally, schools that are specifically designed for environmental studies will further develop the desire of your children to help out the world around them. Even if your children go into their freshmen year of college as an undecided major, these surrounding factors can gently coax and guide them into a career that has the potential to make a huge difference in the world.

Clearly, no matter what major your child wishes to pursue in the future, you want him or her to be happy. Remember, a major might not make a difference at a global level, but it can certainly make a difference for your child.

Cindy Klein writes about parenting, green living and more. Recently, she has written a series of articles on her journey earning a Masters Degree in Public Health, at

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