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Some of our older kids have been exploring different areas of interest, either through online college courses or through volunteer work, like becoming certified First Responders. Jim Bob and I also encourage our children to apprentice with people who are professionals in their field. We think this allows them to find things they're interested in and learn about more about them.
A lot of the kids have really enjoyed learning from our film crew (they're so sweet and are like family to us). The kids ask them questions and the crew tells them about their equipment, which is really fascinating to some of the children. It's been great because our crew has a wealth of knowledge and wisdom in their fields, and the kids get to ask themselves, "Is that something I really want to do?" -- whether it's photography, videography or sound.
Recently a few of our boys were working on a construction project and dealing with machinery and everything it takes to get a property into shape, from construction to cleanup. Our son Josiah was covered in poison ivy and he was like, "I don't think I want be out there digging around in the poison-ivy patch anymore. That's not my niche in life," whereas our other son, John-David (who doesn't get poison ivy), said, "Man, I like this. This is my kind of job!"
So Josiah's learning how to do accounting right now, and he'll probably enjoy it because his personality is more lent to that. I just tell my kids to gain as many life skills as they can as they go along. Talk to professionals, people who know their field, and learn from them as much as you can.
You'll never regret gaining that knowledge and understanding -- whether you're going to do that for a living may not be the goal. It's about gaining as much knowledge as you can.
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