I think (because I am not a parent myself) that any 18 year olds parent biggest worry is most probably - how is my child going to be able to look after him/herself” one day! So from an early age you are looking out for the natural skills that he/she shows so that you can help them prepare for their future.
This must a nightmare situation if you don’t have a kid with keen, straightforward instincts to become a doctor, lawyer, fireman etc. The norm is probably that kids do not have a clue what they want to be or do with their lives and that they are rather just going to stay at home forever!
So they turn 17 and the race is on! Society demands that they must be driven and make a life for themselves – surely that is what we did, not so?
How many of us ended up with a job we absolutely loved, lived for and were passionate about?
The sad and harsh reality is that we started working somewhere, developed that skill set and that kept us going for life. Then we met the boy or girl, got married, bought the car and the house with the white picket fence, had the perfect family of 2-3 kids and all of a sudden found ourselves at 40 thinking what I did for myself. Now our struggle is making sure our family is taken care of until we are 60-70 and we can retire happily at the beach.
Why would we want that for our kids that do not want to choose that life?
Now I own a scuba diving company, and became a scuba diving instructor when I was young. Unfortunately only after I backpacked overseas and settled down into life as it is supposed to be…getting a job and paying the bills.
I sit at this desk now and although very grateful for my life, blessings and what I have accomplished; cannot help to wonder – just a little bit – what if I first got my PADI Scuba Instructor rating and then went travelling? It would have been a lot nicer than working in London at Hamley’s Toy Store in the middle of winter, or doing homecare, or cleaning someone’s house.
Imagine the islands, exotic places, white beaches, turquoise seas I could rather have experienced – sigh…
I am seeing our interns experiencing this every day on their Facebook pages. Some days I have a really hard time staying friends with them J from Bali to Zanzibar to Greece to Madagascar and the list goes on!
Where I come in is looking at our internship program, realising the opportunities is presents but also understanding a parents natural aversion to it. The mere idea of my kid becoming a scuba diving instructor just screams at me this is not a job! How on earth are you going to build a life for yourself being basically what I would classically call a beach bum? There is no way you can support yourself and I am going to have to look after you forever – Heaven forbid lol!
We started this program “officially” in 2010 with the very clear intention that we are not producing a beach bum but rather prove that this is a career that is self-sustaining while at the same time offering you an incomparable lifestyle to the norm.
And today I am seeing the results – our interns are travelling the world, living our holidays, enjoying life and they are not desperate young adults sending mom and dad a sms every month asking for money to survive. They are building an international career.
So if you are a parent and in a situation where you are feeling a bit desperate and they are maybe showing interest in diving as a career. Rest assured that if he/she is a good kid, a hard worker, sincere and just plain normal happy kid, this could be their saving grace and an opportunity to get out of South Africa and who knows - maybe one day have a place for you to retire on the beach.