“When you’re a grown-up, you go to work and come home and eat supper and then… you watch tv!”
The quick answer you may hear if you asked a child… “What does a grown up do?”
Are we letting our lives slip by? Apparently our generation has more free time than ever. But it seems to me, we’re not actually happier. What kind of future do you want for your family tree? Do you talk about your hopes excitedly with expectation of success?
I don’t, but I wish I would.
I’m sure you feel the same. So busy that we feel as if we’re spinning through this world. Juggling all the needs of a family doesn’t leave much time for wishes and dreams.
Let’s elevate our expectations. If late nights have splintered the dreams of your youth, select a fragment and dust off those goals that once gave you energy and passion. Pray about what God would have you take on, and would work with your family and not against it. Let your kids see you striving nervously for that impossibly hard thing. Let them see you fall and get back up. With time and practice, your hard work will become successful.
“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”— Mario Andretti
And there is good reason to make time for this. Our children are afraid of failure, and frankly they don’t see their parents overcoming tough obstacles. We need to teach through example. It will give our children confidence to stretch along with us, and really live out Phil 4:13 and do everything through Him who gives us strength.
“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”— Dale Carnegie
I want my children to appreciate when I am nervous about an upcoming speaking engagement, a difficult health program I attempt, a potential blog topic idea, or when I feel God is giving me a difficult instruction (like fasting). They will see that we don’t know everything, that we don’t always have it together. We do our best, and sometimes we fail. Ouch.
Hebrews 10:35 “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”
Talk about your child’s future with them often, as if it is their mission in life. Relate all the possibilities imaginable, and when age appropriate even write down some of their dreams and aspirations. Of course with kids their own goals for their future can and should change often. It is not a sign of mediocrity, but actually a signature of healthy curiosity. Discuss famous people who changed the world for good or bad, and get books on the library on real missionaries, now and long ago.
Older kids may already have some firm ideas for their lives. It is helpful to help them break it down into smaller chunks. When I was young, I had a dream to go and do missions for a summer. This was before the internet, and trying to coordinate all the details for the trip overwhelmed me. I gave up before I got through the initial planning stage, and to this day, I regret it.
Help your young person organize his or her dreams into sizeable bites of awesomeness, and they will have an easier time swallowing it.
So, when is the last time you did something that was so challenging it scared you? Tell us about it!
TRY THESE ACTIVITIES:
Do the impossible! Go a day without electronics. Make it as hard as you want, but be sure to discuss it first as a family. Try giving up tv, internet, cell phones, video games. Whatever would be a challenge for you. Encourage the kids to go for this challenge with you, and make it a mission, not a punishment.
Have a meal without saying a word. See who can go the longest without talking. It sounds easy, until you want some more potatoes! To make it extra exciting have the meal without using cutlery.
To encourage dreaming big, try some improv with your family. Put a few ideas in a bowl or pieces of paper. “Once upon a time”, “strange day at the zoo”, “at the bottom of the ocean”, “I heard a strange sound” or “One day while I was playing outside.” One person in the family starts it off and each person has a turn continuing the story.