Do you remember one particular class or book or person who shaped your future career?
In third grade we did a unit on penguins. I loved it. Like, LOVED IT. So I started seeking out any book or show – or whatever – that had to do with penguins. I looked up how old you had to be to volunteer at the aquarium. I found out that the people who feed the penguins at the aquarium are called marine biologists, so I pegged that as my future career.
Spoiler: I’m not a marine biologist.
I found out much later than third grade that in order to be a marine biologist, one had to go through classes where you’d dissect a penguin, and that basically ended my career in marine biology.
My parents encouraged me.
I told them I wanted to be a marine biologist, and they took me to the New England Aquarium to visit not just the penguins, but the seals and the fish, too. We went to the library so I could take out books about marine life.
I hope that whatever Eleanor tells me she wants to do, I’m able to encourage her and find things to help her decide if she truly wants that to be her future. (If you asked her now, she would probably tell you she wants to be a digger. I’m guessing she means someone who drives a digger, but hey… a girl can dream!)
No matter what she decides she wants to do for her career, we’re encouraging her interests now. I’m trying really hard not to push her toward one thing or another, but to go with whatever she finds most interesting. At this age, that means I’m wholeheartedly embracing her love of construction trucks rather than bringing her down the pink, glittery princess toy aisle.
We slow down when we go by a construction site to talk about what we see, visit local farms that have tractors and hay rides, and read books about different types of trucks and what they do.
Her second birthday party’s theme was construction trucks. Who knows – maybe she’s studying vehicles so she can be an engineer one day!
How cute are these bulldozer hair clips I found!
How can you encourage your child at an early age?
- Read books about her favorite things (some of our favorite truck books are Richard Scarry Trucks, Richard Scarry Construction Trucks)
- Seek out community events she might like (last weekend we went on a hayride at a local farm, and we’ve visited tractors at home improvement stores during our home renovation)
- Talk about how education can be a part of her future (talking seriously about education will come later, but for now we show her – vs. telling her – that it’s fun to investigate how things work, and to read books about them).
Education – in many forms – can be expensive, which is why we started saving for Eleanor’s college education from day one. We opened a 529 plan, which allows us to save for her future, from preschool to postgrad. You can use the MEFA College Planning Tool to see how much money it might cost for your child to attend college. Then learn how to “set it and forget it” when it comes to college saving.
In partnership with Fidelity, MEFA is working hard to educate parents on saving for education, so they have a bunch of events scheduled on their U.Fund Dreams Tour. We’ll be visiting the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, MA for October’s Boo at the Zoo event, happening on Saturday, October 19th. Come join us! Kids can wear their costumes and trick-or-treat.
We’re already putting money into our accounts, but we’re looking forward to meeting with the staff at the U.Fund Dreams Tour tent to learn more about ways to plan and save for the future. They’ll be there October 19th from 11am to 3pm.
There is a photo booth experience with fun career props for families to take pictures (astronaut, news reporter, teacher and so many more!), a coloring mural and launch game the kids love to play!
The U.Fund Dreams Tour tent has an iPad that lets you check out to see if you’re on track to meet your college savings goals. If you have questions, the booth has staff who are happy to help you if you want.
Thank you to Fidelity and MEFA for sponsoring this post. All opinions, as always, are my own.