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I thoroughly believe that education/career/life goals start very early in a personís life. Every child should be perceived as an uncut diamond that when polished will be a precious gift to their parents/ society.

Children needs a loving home where all are treated with a sense of caring and respect for their individuality. Please start early to teach your youngster to enjoy life, to laugh and share a hug. A positive self concept is learned at a very young age.

Encourage your children to enjoy reading a vast array of reading material. Take the time to read to your young children before they go to sleep.

Parents/teachers and students make an awesome trio when they co-operate. Elementary school teachers should instill a positive sense of learning that our children need to be successful. Perception plays a large part in who and what we are. Letís all agree that the vast majority of our children are smart and if they are motivated will do well.

There are in my opinion two kinds of students that are in need of encouragement: those that canít and those that wonít. The latter can be successful if they have a Ďwhyí along with a sense of direction.

Grade eight parents and students will soon be asked to fill in their registration forms for grade nine in September. The vast majority of our children should choose the Academic program. It keeps all of the doors open for future education/career goals.

Grade twelve university level courses secondary school program can lead to success at Fanshawe or Western. The College level high school courses often times do not adequately prepare your son or daughter to do well in a community college. The biggest feeder school to Fanshawe College in London is the University of Western Ontario.

Graduates from high school are faced with the daunting task of choosing a community college or university program. My advise is to think global and look local. Fanshawe college has a vast array of co-op technology career programs to choose from.

Londonís three diamonds: Kingís/Huron/Brescia University College have excellent Liberal Arts/Social Science undergraduate courses with a low pupil teacher ratio. The University of Western Ontario has a vast array of excellent professional schools offering up honours undergraduate degrees in Business, Engineering, Nursing with excellent career opportunities.

Graduating post secondary students are faced with the question: what do I do with my degree/diploma now that I have completed my education? In my fourteen years of providing education/career counseling I have discovered that the vast majority of our grads have not been given adequate testing/facts on where do they go to seek meaningful employment.

For many making a living is not the same as making a life. They want to make a difference. They need a raison díetre. You have to be able to assess your strengths/weaknesses/values: where you have been and where do you want to go to find a sense of direction.

Family can be very helpful in providing networking advice/ paths for their children to help them find their critical balance. Often times it is not what you know but rather who you know that counts to get your first interview.

Grads have to be flexible willing to work hard in to-days labour market. The world is your apple with opportunities galore if you but risk to venture away from home.

Many Londoner have seen their career goals put asunder by lay-offs and downsizing because of the poor economic climate. Good employees who are flexible will always find employment. It takes perseverance and perhaps the willingness to retrain for a semester or two to find good employment.

There is a story of the parable of the trapeze that captures the paradox of the pain and hope of change and living in between the old and the new. Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. Most of the time I spend my life hanging on to my trapeze-bar-of-the- moment. Iím in control of my life, Every once in a while I see another trapeze that has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth. I know in my heart-of-hearts that for me to grow I have to release my grip on the present, well- known bar and move on to the new one. Often-times there is no safety net, no insurance policy but I do it anyways because the old bar is no longer on my list of alternatives.

It is called Ďtransitioní. I believe that this transition is the only place that real learning and thus change occurs.

Mom & Care Giver is featuring this column in their February issue. Website: www.themomonline.com

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com