Before the kids, before the marriage, before the careers and even before our first kiss, we all create for ourselves a “vision” of what we want in life. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is probably the most frequently asked question of our youth. But answering that question can be something we each spend a lifetime doing.
Roles are parts we play, and sometimes we mistake them for who we really are. As parents, it can be difficult to separate our wants and needs from our children’s wants and needs, especially when we personalize our accomplishments and have unresolved issues in our lives.
Finding our own dream or vision can be a challenge, but it is important not only to find it, but to share it with your family and especially your children. One of the most natural things to do is assume that our job as a parent is simply to provide for our children and train them to one day search out their own desires–“Good parenting gives a child both roots and wings.”
Wise parents know the difference between allowing their kids to share in their decision making and allowing them to control the decision making. When we share our vision of what a healthy family needs and how we plan to achieve those goals, we allow room for our children to contribute to the success of the family as a whole. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child. When a child learns that what he is doing not only is beneficial to himself but to everyone, he reaps the rewards of being a part of something bigger than himself.
How can you share your dreams with your children? First, be open and honest about what you expect of yourself! You can’t expect your children to accomplish great things if you yourself have low expectations of them or yourself. The sky’s the limit! Don’t make remarks about how others who have nicer things deserve them, but you don’t. Let your kid’s vision blend with yours and be willing to change your ideas on how you hope to accomplish them.
Second, explain to your child how your vision benefits THEM, how working together will make life easier for everyone. Each week sit down with your child and find out what they have done to move closer towards these goals and show them what you have done as well. Share, share, share. You don’t have to include your child in every single twist and turn of your day, but give them a reminder that your success is their success and that you are working every day towards it.
“Your children are not your own.
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.”