The future career talk during teen years is critical. I would like to proclaim that we as “Dad” have a “relationship” talk instead of a “sex” talk with our sons. Both jobs and sex are about relationships, and as Dads, we need to help our sons with building relationships. Our women will love us a little more. Not to mention the similarities that we should no longer ignore, nor disassociate from the main bridge between the two.
Careers are largely about the relationships we build. We have to be liked, but in different ways, without it being about us. Relationships are not about sex, but sex is about the relationship. I didn’t appreciate it until I was married for some time, and I like other Dads, learned this the hard way.
Here are several reasons of my own that relationships make the career, dating, and marriage intertwined:
- Relationships and careers require respect and like, giving first, then earning the receipt of it. As a baby boomer, we grew up with a chauvinistic view of women, and the synonym was being macho. In this day and age, I am the caveman. Without validation, it sprinkled on my boys. If we fathers do not teach our boys to respect and like Mom, we have failed to help them with their future relationships with co-workers, bosses, girlfriends, wives, and in-laws.
- Both require longitudinal planning. Just because we had short relationships and careers, doesn’t mean our sons have to experience the same. Help them to plant seeds, not just build a shelter. A healthy plant requires cultivation over time. Relationships and careers need the same cultivation, not just when we need something from someone.
- Neither relationships or careers are about you. You are going to give more than you get, and receive a portion in return if you’re successful. If you are getting more, then respond by giving more than the other person.
- Both have difficult and complex issues. Careers and relationships should be handled with truth and responsibility. Our teen boys need training in handling conflicts, unfairness, and tragedy with grace, courage, and truthfulness. If lying and deceit develops into a pattern early, it is so hard to un-train it (but it can be done). As Dads, if we have a problem with honesty, then it is hard for us to detect it in our kids. This is where we need to be humble and pass the baton to the women in our lives.
- Mishandling careers and relationships can tear your life apart. As my working, college-bound son makes career defining decisions at 17 years old, he needs the training from me. He received his first college acceptance, and has more work experience than knowledge about girls. The work challenges are intriguing, but we talk a lot about how to handle them. Dads need that conversation often, at least once a week, even if for a few minutes each. They need to know how to handle work and relationships equally. As Dads, mistakes are training opportunities, and teachable moments that need immediate attention. Be there to catch them when they stumble or fall.
Train your sons character, and not just the behavior. The best lessons are hard to digest, and trying to control him will only breed rebellion in the long run. Being successful for years at a time takes a man who is accountable, dutiful, and skillful at relationships and career. The best lesson is failure, so as a Father, teach them to learn from failure. .
What are you struggling with in having these talks? Feel free to share them with us by commenting below.