Children have all kinds of big and exciting dreams for what they want their future lives to one day look like. In fact, it’s pretty routinely the case that these dreams would also be the kind of things that the parents of those children would love to do.
Since children aren’t so restricted by considerations of practicality as adults are, and since their imaginations often run pretty wild, it’s common enough to hear your child talking about how one day they will be an astronaut, or a cowboy, or a famous musician, or a dragon, or whatever. Of course, as parents, it’s good to encourage our children in their exuberant and optimistic dreams. It’s those dreams, and that imagination, that give life so much of its colour and excitement, and that can, in fact, lead to great achievements and adventures.
All the same, it’s obviously not necessarily a straightforward matter to chase your dreams, and to bring them to fruition. No doubt, every parent wants to do whatever they can to help their kids live their dreams.
So, what can a parent do? Read on for some suggestions.
Help to get them to develop the kinds of habits that bring success
Success is a pretty abstract concept when you think about it, and doesn’t necessarily connect with any particular physical state of affairs, so much as it’s a matter of setting your intention on achieving something, and then actually managing to achieve it.
Success is sometimes achieved after a short drive or effort, but sometimes – in fact, very frequently – only after a long one.
What’s more, success can often only be achieved through consistency, and the ability to keep moving forward despite setbacks, irritation, “bad days,” and so on. One consequence of this, is that success is generally going to be a matter of your habits, rather than of the big one off efforts and pushes you make in life.
In the book “Atomic Habits”, by James Clear, the author looks at some of the ways that our habits shape us, and how we can shape our habits for success. Among other things, he points out that the vast majority of the actions we carry out each day seem to be based on habits, rather than conscious decision-making. So, in order for us to be successful in life, our habits need to be healthy, productive, and dialled in.
To help your child achieve their dreams, then, one of the first places to start is by helping to inculcate positive and productive habits in them, and make them accustomed to acting in effective and productive ways, and avoiding such traps as procrastination. Where should you start? Well, you can begin simply by getting your child used to waking up at a set time every day (once they’re passed a certain age, of course), eating meals at set times, and simple routines like that.
The best thing to do, however, is to begin incentivising your kids to act in productive ways, of their own volition. So, let them know that they can do additional chores around the house for certain rewards.
Be a positive role model for them
There are a lot of jokes out there about parents who swear at their children, while commanding them not to swear. Everyone knows that children primarily take their lead from the examples their parents set, not from the words that they say.
If, therefore, you tell your children to always chase their dreams, work hard for them, and look for opportunities – but then they see you grumbling every day about working at a job you hate, and don’t see any evidence of you working towards your dreams on evenings or weekends either, there is going to be a disconnect.
Perhaps the best way of encouraging your children to pursue their dreams, is to pursue your own dreams yourself. Of course, “life gets in the way” and all that, but there are always things you can do to move your life more in the direction you’d like, and further away from a situation that makes you dissatisfied and unhappy.
So, if you aren’t happy with your day job at all, actively start looking for jobs that would make you happier. If you feel that you don’t have the professional prospects to get the career of your dreams, then ask yourself what you’re doing on your evenings and weekends to improve those prospects. Are you running your own side business? Are you taking courses? If you want to become a personal trainer, are you looking into OriGym?
Get them out and about and engage with the world around them
Quite often, you’ll find kids who are incredibly creative and thoughtful but who have very little apparent desire or ability to translate those traits into the physical world around them.
Such kids often withdraw as much as possible, and spend all their time in fantasy worlds, either via books, or television, video games, or simply their own thoughts. Imagination is brilliant; easily one of the most important traits in life. But if imagination can’t be translated to the greater world at large in some effective way, it’s a largely wasted gift.
For your children to ever achieve their dreams, they have to be more than just dreams. They also need to be targets, things that can be aimed at and gone after. That, of course, also means that your child has to become capable of getting out there in the world, doing things, and engaging head-on.
These days, this is likely to be a more pressing issue than perhaps ever before. Because, there are a huge number of entertainment options available today that require no other people to be involved at all. Anything involving a screen is likely to fall into this category.
To get your children used to “getting out there”, you often need to give them a little nudge. But that little nudge may do a world of good.
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