My son took me out to dinner the other night. It still feels strange to sit across from the grown man that used to be my little baby and watch him take the bill from the waitress and insist on paying. He likes treating me because I’m his mother but he also likes the fact that he can afford to do things like this.
When he graduated high school almost two years ago, he decided that he wasn’t going to college. He was very vocal about it and although at the time, he didn’t have a plan for his future I didn’t push him to go. School has never been his thing and he couldn’t wait until the days of having to sit in a classroom all day were over. He has always been a productive person and loves working with his hands so I had faith he’d figure it out.
And boy did he ever figure it out.
My son worked with his father to learn the plumbing trade
He’d been working for my ex-husband for a few years learning the plumbing trade and decided sometime during his senior year of high school that’s what he wanted to do. There hasn’t been a day that”s gone by that I’m not overwhelmed with joy that I didn’t force him to do something with his life that he didn’t want to do.
My ex-husband and I went to college and got bachelor’s degrees. We started saving for our kids’ college careers as soon as they were born. We always just assumed that they would go to college and we talked about it with them when they were younger.
My son had other plans though. He knew it wasn’t the path he wanted to take and even when he’d tell people (in a very confident tone) that he didn’t want to go to college they’d fire back with comments about how he should go now because he might not go later, or how he really won’t be able to make a good living without a degree. It was as if many people thought he was throwing away his entire life just because he didn’t want to go to college right after high school.
My son has no debt and he’s been able to save money
Not only does my son not have any debt at all, he just bought a truck and paid cash for it and has a hefty bank account. He’s very responsible with his money and has been investing in stocks. At nineteen he’s saving for his retirement. he knows that he doesn’t want to accrue debt and he watches videos about how to invest and spend wisely.
These are things I didn’t even start learning about until I graduated from college. And back then, I had so much debt I could barely afford my student loans, apartment, and the car I’d financed. So that fact I couldn’t start saving for retirement (or anything else for that matter) made me feel ashamed and like I was already behind in life.
My son is a huge success despite not going to college
My son didn’t go to college and he is a huge success for many reasons. He followed his gut and went into the trades because he knew it was the best choice for him which gave him confidence. His finances are better than mine were when I was thirty. Not going to school and working has forced him to learn about how to spend his money wisely at a young age and he’s created some great habits that I hope will stick for the rest of his life.
But the biggest reason I think my son is a success is because he is happy. He wakes up early every morning and looks forward to going to work. He’s told me many times he loves driving around doing service work, or working with other guys on big commercial jobs. He gets to use his brain and his hands at the same time and likes the challenges of being a plumber.
He knows he has job security because during lean times people do repairs, and during lucrative times, people redo their bathrooms and kitchens. There are also a lot of opportunities to grow and his plan is to one day take over the business and run it on his own.
When we think about our kids being successful, many of us envision them in a career making good money, and able to handle their life and stay organized. But real success means loving what you do enough that it doesn’t feel like work and you are filled with excitement to start each day instead of dread.
And whether your child gets a college degree or not, that’s the goal.
More Great Reading:
Seven Reasons Skilled Trades May Be the Best Path for Your Teen