Sutton Foster poses with the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical. Photo: Mike Coppola/

It’s never too early to help your kids explore their career interests. And it’s easy.

My 6th grade daughter and I curled up in my bed last night, each with a laptop, and explored what it takes to be an actor on Broadway. She pulled up her favorite clips from this year’s Tony Awards, and I  searched for that actor on my laptop and read to her about the career path. Where did she grow up? When did she start acting? Where did she go to college? What are those college programs like? How long did it take to get to Broadway?

I wish I’d had more opportunities to explore different careers in middle school, high school and even in college so that by the time I finished school I left with a real sense of what I really wanted to do and how to get there. Unfortunately even today career exploration is not something a whole lot of middle and high schools do well. The good news is that now it’s relatively easy for parents to fill in that gap with all the resources online. In addition to simple searches, there are resources like the collection of Day in the Life videos created and curated by ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. So instead of just asking “What do you want to be when you grow up?” you can take the answer and make exploring that path a family activity.

When I went to wake our daughter this morning, I saw on her nightstand a piece of paper with a list of five goals she’d set for herself after our exploration. Not surprisingly, exploration transforms itself into motivation!

~ Kristin



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