Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

The World at his Feet November 4, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 9:24 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

BulldozerA few days ago, one of my sons finished his course (and in effect his school life), and is now ready to enter the workforce.  He literally has the world at his feet, and the future of his career in his hands.  It’s an exciting, but also scary time.

For those who know our men-children, we made the decision over 12 months ago to let one of our sons leave school at the end of Year 10 and undertake a VCAL/Pre-apprenticeship course.  The academic life wasn’t for him (no matter how bright he is) and life as a “tradie” was begging.  He has spent the last 9 months at TAFE, doing a building course and to his credit thoroughly enjoying it (that’s the practical side of things, it’s fair to say he still didn’t love the academic requirements, no matter how basic).

In that time of “adult learning” they have taught them all manner of skills, both building related and not, and undertaken a vast range of modules, including green bowling (I kid you not), and community oriented activities such as teaching kids in schools.  I think our son has learned things about himself, and also about others.  He has certainly been exposed to a life outside of his sheltered private school upbringing (always a good thing) and probably has a new sense of appreciation for how fortunate he is.   This particular man-child has always been pragmatic and pretty down to earth, so I don’t think he’s been too far outside his comfort zone.  I have to say though, I’d like to send his twin brother along to TAFE for a short time – it might open his eyes a bit more!!!

So where to from here for our future “tradie”?  He has a part-time job he will continue, whilst he looks for an apprenticeship.  We have encouraged him to contact everyone he knows to make them aware he is job hunting, and also to seek recommendations from his lecturers.  I have also ensured that he realises it’s a tough employment market, and it might take a while to find an apprenticeship – not wanting to dull his enthusiasm – quite the opposite, to create a sense of urgency.

To the credit of our man-child, I am not at all concerned about him.  I know he has found his “thing” (how fortunate at 17 years old) and I have confidence he will do well in his chosen field.  I know he is not afraid of hard work, and therefore will be rewarded with success in due course.  He has also come to the realisation that his desire to leave home as soon as possible might be thwarted in the short-term, now that he has learned exactly how little the hourly rate is for an apprentice!!   As I said, if you want the ute, and have to pay for petrol, there won’t be much left for anything else (secretly of course I am happy about the chance to keep him at home a little longer – REALLY!!)

I told him the other day that we are extremely proud of him for completing his course and following his heart – I hope it confirms how much we believe in him, no matter how often we disagree about mundane details in our daily lives.

So onto the next chapter – whatever that brings.  I can’t help but share in the excitement of what might be around the corner for him…..I will worry when I need to, but just not now.

Our decision to let him leave school early wasn’t easy, but we survived the journey.   Read more below:

https://motherofamanchild.com/2012/05/25/should-man-child-leave-school/

https://motherofamanchild.com/2013/02/22/new-adventures-so-far-so-good/

 

 

 

Gaining life experience from work experience April 27, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

work toolsThe men-children recently completed work experience as part of their school curriculum.  In Year 10, they set aside a week for all the boys to complete a week “working” – for some their first real taste of life outside school in an adult working environment.

Not surprisingly, the experiences were as varied as the 250 boys in the year level, ranging from a week spent with the Melbourne Rebels (cool) to a week spent at the Melbourne Zoo (also cool).   Even our boys selected very diverse options.  One spent the week with a sports management company (largely office based as it turned out), and one spent the week with a builder (largely outdoor based naturally).

I think each of the boys learned a lot about working, and the ups and/or downs of the particular companies they worked for.  The man-child who elected for the sports management job probably thought it would be a lot more glamorous than it was.  He did get one outing at an AFL football club, but the rest of the time was largely spent talking with staff to understand their jobs (basically project management), or helping the girls in the office with the database (the alternative to “filing”).  As I explained to him when he told me about having to spend a few hours “cutting and pasting” one day:  “I also have to do shit like that, and I’m paid a lot more than $10 a day”.  Everyone has grunt stuff to do as part of their job, so for me it was a great lesson about starting at the bottom, and being prepared to roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty.  I was also at pains to point out that it really is quite difficult to find a meaningful job for someone on work experience for a week, and that he could rest assured when he gets a real job there will be set tasks for him to do and he’ll feel a sense of purpose.

I agreed to drop him off one day and we were chatting about what he’d learned.  He mentioned a discussion by management about the cost for “the cloud”, and then quickly asked me – BTW, what exactly is “the cloud”?  Firstly a very good marketing term, but basically just a bunch of servers where you store all your stuff and pay someone else to worry about its retention, security, retrieval etc.  I was glad he asked, as that’s exactly how you learn.   I also had to laugh the day he rang me from the supermarket to tell me he’d been sent down to buy chips and dips for Friday night drinks (a VERY important job) and to ask me which dips he should choose!  I said you can’t go wrong with Hummus and Tzatziki (and quietly delighted in the fact that he had called his mother to ask). 🙂

In complete contrast to his office-bound brother, our other man-child went off “labouring” with a builder friend.   His turned out to be a great experience, with opportunities to work with multiple “tradies” during the week, coupled with the chance to drive a quad bike and a ute on the large property they were working at.  Teenage heaven!  He also spent a few nights out at the property, and I think really enjoyed the manual work (although he was pretty stuffed by it).  Of course it’s much easier to give someone stuff to carry, dig, cart, etc in this environment, so I have no doubt he felt very “useful” compared to his brother.  However I did also point out to our “labourer” that it wasn’t quite as glamorous as he might think.  I said the “chippies” do the same thing day in, day out.  They don’t get to be a landscaper one day and a carpenter the next.  It’s 365 days a year of hammering timber.

He was also very fortunate to be given advice by said builder about his future career choices.  I was thrilled to learn this and hope our son takes on board the wise counsel of our friend.  He’s very lucky to have someone who cares enough to help.

Post work experience, we learned that next term the boys need to make subject choices for Year 11 (and ultimately Year 12).  WHAT!!  Naturally our thoughts and discussions turned to the challenge this presents, and how hard it is to guide our children in a world that moves so fast, and is a long way from our school leaving some 30 odd years ago.  As someone said, the jobs they may have when they’re 20 probably don’t even exist yet.  And we know they may well have 3 or 4 different career paths in their lifetime.  So we jumped at the chance for any guidance that “experts” can provide our sons and us during this decision process.  We want to be sure they make the best possible choices for themselves, with the knowledge of all the opportunities that are available to them.  And the objectivity that a 3rd party provides when they think their parents don’t know anything can’t hurt either!!!

So hands up who is doing now what they started when they left school?  Have you changed careers, by choice, or by circumstance?  Did you end up doing what you said you wanted to do when you were younger (doctor, nurse, vet)?  Or do you have any tips for us or the boys?   I’d love to hear from you.

PS.  We just endured another round of Parent-Teacher interviews.  It can be a trying experience, especially with one of the men-children.  The Joys (or not) of Parent-Teacher Interviews.