Whether you have kids or not…it is important to understand that the next generation is going to paint society’s future. As a parent, I remember the feeling of bringing my kids home from the hospital the first time – already thinking about which college they would go to and if they were going to be President, a movie star, a minister or one of the greatest sports legends of all time. I made promises to myself that they would have it easier. They would not have to go through the same trials and letdowns I faced. They would have opportunity handed to them on a silver platter. Many times, it became my motivation for working long hours and pushing myself so hard. I wanted their dreams, whatever that may be, to come true.
Over time, parents somehow lose sight of that. We get disappointed with grades, careless decisions, and reckless driving. We find it hard to be open to our kids’ dreams…especially if they were not on our approved list. We sometimes even give up on supporting their dreams and just want them to fit in and get a job.
I am committed to seeing our kids’ dreams come true. It is not an easy road, however we can nurture the next generation into being world shakers and history makers. We have the opportunity and responsibility to encourage and support them. Here are a few ways we can do this.
Let them dream. Letting your child participate in after school activities such as art, sports, music or scouts can be a wonderful way to let them experience new things. Read to them and when they are old enough to read on their own…buy them books to spark their imagination. Buy them a sketch book and some cool pencils and pens. Tell them regularly, you believe in them and acknowledge things they do well. Take them to art museums, concerts, interesting restaurants and even a soup kitchen.
My great-niece (6 years old) was riding to school with her dad on a rainy day and began imagining ways to provide shelter for the homeless in their neighborhood during the rainy nights. She did this with no prompting from her father. She is 6 and was trying to find a solution to a challenge that adults have struggled to find. Her imagination is not limited to finances and politics. It was simple…”let’s get some tents and put them in an old empty building for them to sleep in”.
Don’t get in the way. I think we, as adults, feel the need to tell our kids all the reasons why something can’t happen. We don’t have enough money, we don’t have enough time, that will make you look silly, you’re just a kid…what do you know? Many times, we don’t even listen to them. How many times have we told kids…this is grown up talk, go play in your room. You’d be surprised at the simple creative thoughts that kids can come up with to solve a problem.
Turn the crazy dreams into reality. Whether it’s through education, extra-curricular activities or field trips, showing your kids examples of other dreamers who made it happen is key. Read them stories of giant slayers, inventors, fashionistas and sports legends. Encourage them to think of a plan to make their dreams come true. Have them write it down. Make a commitment to them that you will support them in the plan.
Pray for them. They were made in the image of a truly creative God. A God who is not limited in His imagination. Pray that they will understand being a dreamer is part of their purpose.
Keep in mind that your child’s dreams will likely change as they get older. The most important part of the process is to teach your children that they can accomplish anything they want to in life. However, without a dream, there will be little opportunity for success.
I, together with my son Isaiah, have come up with a new website that is geared specifically towards helping kids dream. Check it out. www.SUPERrificKids.com