Keeping Him Busy Until Something Happens

Springfield is a college town – in case you didn’t know that.

We have:

Missouri State
Drury University
Evangel University
Baptist Bible College
Central Bible College
Ozarks Technical College
Vatterott College
Cox School of Nursing

And I’m sure I’ve missed a few more technical colleges.

All of these colleges are crammed into our “little” city. (We’re actually the third largest city in Missouri, but you rarely hear that fact because we’re ignored a lot of the time. Which … is actually okay with me because the media is lame to begin with).

So when Fall rolls around, the college students start POURING in. Which is fine – it’s great for our economy, not so great for our traffic flow. But whatever. We quickly adapt.

Now that Dude has graduated from high school …

*Side Note: Now that Dude is 18, I really don’t have a problem calling him by his real name on this blog. I want to, but I don’t think it’s wise given this blog comes up pretty easily in Google (not because it’s popular but because I’ve been blogging for nearly seven years now) and I don’t want a potential employer googling Dude’s name and this blog comes up. It’s not that I have anything to hide, per se, but it might just be too weird to watch baby videos of a potential candidate … in case you were wondering why I still refer to my oldest son as “Dude.”

… and has applied for 17 jobs (at last count – and yes, we’re keeping track of where he has been applying as well as the dates he applied through an Excel sheet), but hasn’t actually landed a job yet, he has some time on his hands. Time that he WILL NOT waste away by playing video games all day long.

Since his long-term goal is computers, Kevin suggested (as in STRONGLY suggested, as in you don’t really have a choice until you get a job suggested) that Dude come up to the office every weekday afternoon and work toward his A+ certification. (Computer places won’t hire you to work on computers unless you have this certification). He’s also dabbling in Java and PHP, too. (Those are computer programs, in case you don’t speak geek. HA!)

We really expected him to complain about this “arrangement,” but so far, Kevin and I think he’s actually relieved to have something TO DO while he bides his time on the job front. I mean, playing games is fun and all, but doing it every day, all day long, has GOT to get old after a while.

Learning Java

I think he likes the independence, too. He comes and goes as he pleases (as long as he gets to the office around 1-ish and stays until 4:30 – 5-ish) and he drives his own car. We wanted to give him a taste of what it’s like to leave the house and report somewhere. I want to eventually make him get to the office earlier – there’s really no excuse NOT to. We wake him up at 8:00 (because if we didn’t, he’d sleep until noon every day and if he wants to do that on his days off after his gets a job, fine. But until he gets a job, he’s not sleeping all day and staying up all night – not gonna happen on my watch, missy), and before he gets on his computer, he’s expected to eat breakfast, drink his coffee (that he makes himself because Kevin and I drink our coffee at the office), and take a shower. Reality comes first.


So he’s up and ready to go by 10:00 at the latest. He could pack a lunch and come up to the office at that time – it’s just a matter of making him do it.

He can also put this office/computer experience on his resume, too. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.

Today was the first day of college for a lot of students. I’ve gotten some surprised (and somewhat disapproving looks) from a few people when they find out that Dude is not attending college this Fall. Though we want Dude to go to college at some point (because regardless of what people say, having a college degree IS something to fall back on and to give you an edge when you’re competing for jobs), we also want him to WANT to go and to take it seriously when he goes. We’re also recommending to him that he pay for his classes as he goes, as opposed to getting loans, so he’s not graduating with a bunch of debt.

If/when he takes college courses, he’ll likely take his required courses through OTC – mainly because their classes are cheaper and they have a deal worked out with Missouri State so that their credits easily transfer over. By the time Dude goes to MSU (assuming he transfers to MSU when the time comes), he’ll be able to jump right into his specialized classes.

I will likely take him to the OTC campus in the next month or so to get him enrolled to take a course in the Spring. It really all depends on what is going on with the job situation. Well, even when he gets a job, we still expect him to take classes, eventually. It’s important that Dude think about his future career. Not only because it’s our desire to see him financially set for life (and not having to live from paycheck to paycheck), but because he’s a man, which means at some point he will want to get married and have a family (God willing) and he’ll need to be in a position to take care of his family.

Kevin and I have talked, at length, about our firstborn. We don’t want to choose his future for him, but we don’t want him sitting around the house and wasting his life away, either. The longer he sits around and doesn’t do anything, the more difficult it will be for him to get started. Not to mention, it looks odd to potential employers if he has this big void of doing nothing on his resume.

(“So Dude. You’ve been out of school for two years and you haven’t worked anywhere or taken any college courses? What have you been doing this whole time?”)

We have just accepted the fact that Dude is one of those people who need a push. He’s simply not motivated enough to kick start himself into gear. And to be fair to the boy, he really doesn’t know where to start. Being 18 and a recent high school graduate is a bitter/sweet experience. On the one hand, he has the whole world at his feet. On the other hand, he has the whole world at his feet — where in the world does he start?!


So. As his parents, we’re pushing him in one direction and if he chooses to go a different direction, that’s his choice, but you can’t jump start a car if you don’t have any cables, right?

In addition to trying to give him a direction in his professional life, we’re also teaching him household chores and how to cook.

Learning to Cook

He’ll need to know these skills when he moves out.

Whenever THAT happens.

I’ll be honest, I love my son dearly and wish the best for him. I will work hard to help him in any way that I can, but I’m looking forward to the day that he has taken a step toward his future, i.e. gets a job and starts taking college courses, and I can relax and just let him live his life. I’m ready to relinquish my “mom” duties and move on to “supportive”, “mother-in-law” or even “grandma” roles.