What did your parents say you could be when you grew up?

Did they tell you anything or did they say you’ll never amount to anything? Mine told me I could be anything I put my mind to.

The problem was I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up.

Early on I wanted to be a superhero like Batman.

I even had my own Batcave made from cardboard boxes, costume of papier-Mache and utility belt.

I spent hours perfecting my trade craft and was perhaps the best second grade batman to ever walk my front yard.

As I got older I grew a little more reasonable in my expectations of adulting careers.

At first, I wanted to be an astronaut, then a fighter pilot, then I settled on a cardiologist.

My reasons ranged from it was cool to it paid well and I wanted to be rich.

It took me years, two bachelor’s degrees, half an MBA and about seven different career paths before I discovered I wanted to be a journalist.

It’s far from floating in space or pulling high G turns in a dog fight over enemy territory.

It’s even farther from my dreams of being a rich cardiologist Batman but I’m happy and I’m sure to my mom’s delight I’m safe.

The biggest problem I had and many students graduating high school have is that it’s completely unfair to expect an 18-year-old to somehow know what kind of career they will not only succeed in but have a happy life in.

Most people never find this and work a job they hate or settle for one they tolerate.

Everyone talks about how important going to college is and there is a lot of pressure to attend right out of high school.

We do a great job ensuring our kids go on to receive higher education, but we utterly fail in preparing them to make perhaps the most important choice of their lives.

What do I want to be when I grow up?

So, let’s start doing a better job of helping our kids to make these adult decisions by giving them some options that we didn’t have.

Creation of a summer internship program with the partnership of multiple businesses would allow our kids the chance to experience a few career options.

A six-week program over the summer before they start their senior year of high school would greatly help to equip them with a little life experience.

Give them the option to pick from a list of businesses and those careers they might find interesting with options that range from working at the hospital, welding, journalism, and even working with the city or schools.

If nothing else, they finish the summer with a few jobs they don’t want to do.

What could you have done with the experience of a lifetime?

Would you be in the job you are today or still be paying on those student loans after changing your major four different times?

What job did you have in high school?

Most high school students work in jobs they will never explore as a career and will possibly wish to forget about and never return to someday.

Let’s give our kids the chance you never had.

Let’s give them the ability to choose their own fate based on experience instead of what others are telling them.

Darin Hinman is the sports editor for the Grove Sun. He may be reached at sports@grovesun.com.