If you ask today’s teens what is meant by the call of duty, they would stare at you with a confused expression. Everyone knows it is a triple-A video game. After dismissing you as some kind of space alien, they would turn back to their Xbox and keep fragging. If you gave them a second chance at the question and a longer time to think, some of them would come up with something to do with military service. Given the choice to play Xbox all day or go to work on a real battlefield, they would choose the game console almost every time.
Even if they had wanted to join, as many as 75% of US teens were ineligible for military service due to factors like a criminal record, obesity, and lack of education. It would have been fruitless to talk to most teens about answering the call of duty. Fortunately, there are many other ways one could serve their country. We live in a time when we could stand to have fewer people fixated on gunning down the enemy. Our society has many needs. Here is how to encourage your teen to redirect their interests, and what some of those interests might be:
Law Interest for Teens
We need good lawyers and even better politicians. We have a crisis of legal illiteracy in this country and around the world. People are fond of belligerently declaring that they know their rights. But observation shows how untrue that is.
One thing that keeps more people from entering the field is the LSAT. It’s hard, really hard. You can offer your child better LSAT prep tools that will give them a leg up. You can’t just throw them to the wolves and hope they have what it takes to manage. We can do better, and must do better in our time of need.
There has never been a greater need for defense attorneys who can help their clients fight the good fight of civil justice. We need lawmakers with more real-world experience to make the kind of laws that benefit average people and not just those who rub shoulders with them at the country club. If you have an argumentative teen, don’t ground them, help them be more grounded and encourage them to make better arguments. Let them know that there are opportunities for them.
We absolutely need doctors and medical researchers. We need people who are going to come up with the next emergency vaccine for the next unexpected plague. But one of the best reasons you should encourage your teen to consider a career in medicine is that we have a shortage in nurses that is likely to continue for some time to come. The pandemic taught us just how much we needed nurses. Most patients in a hospital see very little of the doctor who is making decisions from a distance. The people with boots on the ground and dealing with your immediate needs are the nurses.
There are many levels of nursing, from introductory to those who have the practical power of a doctor. You can take it as far as you want to go. If one of your teens has a natural gift of making people feel better and bringing smiles to those in need of one, let them know there is a good career waiting for them, and a country in desperate need of their service.
Teaching is a good option for unsure teens
It seems like a cliché to say that we need more teachers, and we need them now. That has been true for a long time. But this is a time when the failures of our public education system are very noticeable. People are not only confused about what is true, they have no tools for distinguishing real news from the fake variety. Where are the studies in epistemology? Where are the studies of history that go beyond the accepted, cultural narratives? Without good teachers, our society will degrade and fade into insignificance. Teaching is not just a job; it is a calling that could be a good option for your teens.
Whether it be law, medicine, or education, we have a desperate shortage of qualified people. And the bench is getting thinner by the day. Be the inspiration that helps your teens answer the call.