The famous U.S. writer, Mark Twain, reportedly once stated, “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant, I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
This humorous, but poignant, quote came to mind as I recently reviewed a study commissioned by the Microsoft Corporation in which the data indicate that parents and caregivers exert tremendous influence on the decisions of young people about their future career choices. According to the study, parents are twice as likely as teachers or counselors (and four times as likely as peers) to influence boys about career direction. These numbers, and the significance of parents’ role in the decision-making process, are even higher for girls.