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Parenting the Wanderers

Our path is not their path

Wanderer; a person who travels aimlessly. Synonymous with Millennials and Gen Z?

“These times they are a changing”.  This is an understatement of epic proportions. Parents of Millennials and Gen Z’s are swimming, some perhaps drowning, in unchartered waters as high school concludes and what will follow is awkwardly unclear. College is no longer the foregone conclusion as it was for prior generations and acceptance/adaptation (plan B, C, and D) is not coming easily to moms and dads. The struggle is real, but change does not have to be the enemy in these unchartered waters. 

Our Millennials are the altruistic dreamers, navigating college because they are “supposed to”, yet are often without a solid a plan and no sense of urgency to get one. They embrace the concept of continuing education in general, but to our dismay, this is where our visions divide. Seemingly limitless options in the age of social media has them contemplating multiple and unorthodox paths. Wanderlust is a plausible career path.

Our Gen Z’s (born 1999 and later) are the impressionable observers watching overworked/overstressed parents disengage careers and older siblings move back home without a clue what to do next. Neither is appealing and unless/until they can formulate a better plan, they are paralyzed to make any decision moving forward.  As a result, the traditional college path doesn’t even register as a ‘must do’ on their list. Honeybadger success is a plausible career option to this group.

What we, as parents are now called to do is let go of the ‘their path is our path’ mentality once and for all. We tread lightly with our millennials navigating education and subsequently rebuking corporate or business life post education. Our Gen Z’s are challenging us even sooner it seems, as many are questioning the value of the college degree altogether.   Their path lies clearly somewhere in between, and we have the means to help them make the best choice as individuals if we can adapt our position.

Rather than opposing their perspective, why not work together utilizing our personal experiences to convert hindsight into invaluable insight as we adjust to a new reality. I think many of us, looking back, might have made different choices if we had an inkling that we COULD. We are stumped, yet equally in awe, of these generations challenging traditional norms of the path that we took into adulthood. You think “Gee, why didn’t I take a year off and traverse the globe before committing to a career?” or “would have been great to take more time to figure out my purpose, but the job clock started ticking on graduation day”.

While we may bristle when friends ask what our kids are doing now, at the end of the day, we want our children to be the best version of themselves, not the best version of us.  Our path really is not their path and that’s o.k.

The rub, however, creates parental ambiguity on how to engage them since their exploration is usually financed on our dime. Our desire for them to be healthy, happy, and fulfilled conflicts with our fear that they will still be in their childhood bedroom at 35. We want to respect their space, yet we also want clarity and open communication. It is fine if their plan is not our plan, but there must be a plan.

This is where Leader Corps can assist. The program that will help create a plan that is right for them and validating for you.

Why students will love it: It is a one-week travel adventure that connects them to peers facing the same challenges. They will have the freedom to explore their ideas, fears, and personalities without parents or well-meaning family-member oversight. Students know they have something worthwhile to offer yet have no idea how to navigate their path in an economy that paradoxically has seemingly confining and yet limitless options. Leader Corps helps them uncover possibilities based on their personalized value while also arming them with skills and a plan to move forward.

Why parents will love it: It is designed and delivered by successful executives who empathize and want to help students optimize their innate gifts while devising a strategic plan towards personal success. It offers a real-world view of what the business world is like and the skills they will need, regardless of whether they enter the corporate arena, social work, or build a start-up via You-tube. They will likely come home reciting the very words you’ve been saying all along, yet now it will be “their” idea. Slightly maddening, yes, yet inconsequential in the end as seeing them step into their true value is our common goal.

Together we can ignite our students to embrace the journey ahead with excitement, not trepidation.  Enroll them in one of our three exciting options this summer and appeal to their innate wanderlust.



If you would like further support on this or any other issue, click here to contact 6th Power for a free consultation to see if 6th Power can help you achieve your maximum potential.


About the Author – Kristin Danganan

Kristin is the Founder and CEO of 6th Power™, a business that focuses on helping individuals and organizations maximize their potential through personal coaching, motivational speaking, and group training events. The goal is to first unlock the individual’s potential and happiness which in turn unlocks the value for the benefiting company and community. Kristin draws on her prior success as a global strategic sales and capability leader at PepsiCo, her CLI™ Executive Power Coach training, and her multiple keynote experiences inspiring others to clear their mental clutter and maximize their potential. Kristin is a +20-year veteran of PepsiCo as a strategic executive, a mom of two active children (Kendall 21 and Mikey 17), and is an adventure enthusiast that in her free time can either be caught jumping out of an airplane, catching waves on her 8’ Walden, or traveling the globe to explore any new country or culture that inspires her. She currently resides in Orlando, Florida with her husband Mike and soon-to-be college student Mikey.

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