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Reflection: Is College the Only Option? Thumbnail

Reflection: Is College the Only Option?

A Reflection by Wayne Wagner Jr, ChFC

So what is a dad to do when his teenage son comes to him at age 16 and says, "Dad, I have no desire to go to college?" Can't say I saw this in the cards. But then he presents an entrepreneurial plan that makes a lot of sense, and the plan does not include college at this stage.

For my wife and I, it was a surprisingly hard pill to swallow. We had actually pressed that plan a lot for a dear friend of ours. My professional coach, Trent Booth, had his son come to him asking to do a gap year this year to figure out what's going to happen next for him.

For Trent and I, we decided to lean into this moment with our two boys. For two weeks, we're going to be on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, doing some hiking, some journaling, and really going deep with one another. Selfishly, I get my professional coach for over a week and a half of this trip. It's a huge opportunity for me to do some strategizing and planning and dreaming and scheming as well. I think for the four of us, this is going to be a memory-filled trip. I'm really encouraged and excited about it.

Crafting a Vision of the Future

We're really looking to go deep with these guys over the next couple of weeks to grow together, learn how to hold one another accountable, and most importantly, craft the image of who is our hero. Our hero shouldn't be some pop star or football player or something like that. Our hero really should be a man that we have intentionally crafted - a design that we want to become. The man you dream to be 10 years from now in character, values, and goals.

We're forming that vision together, and then we'll be holding each other accountable in the days and years to come. While it came from an unexpected angle, I'm just grateful for this time to go deep and be intentional. It's a moment where some time got carved out for our boys, and we think it's going to be a really valuable opportunity for each of us to go deep here.

I share this because my hope for our clients is reflected in many ways:

  1.  Always be open to creative alternatives to cultural norms, especially when they fit you uniquely.
  2.  Always "stress-test" those plans against traditional wisdom and with people you deeply respect and trust.
  3.  Be intentional in crafting the vision of the future you want to live in, then make a clear plan to move in that direction day by day.

As always, we're here for perspective for the decisions ahead. Even when life surprises you – or maybe, especially when – take the opportunity to reflect on your options, make a decision, and move forward with confidence.