As you know, I am passionate about seeing our kids thrive and not strive. I love seeing them conquer giants, whether that be experiencing fear when coming to school and then one day running into the classroom announcing their arrival. Or, perhaps a child who is scared of the dark and then realises that the dark holds no power and they are fine. Maybe it’s a simple task of learning to finally tie their laces or perhaps it’s getting up in front of the class and sharing a news item. Whatever the case may be, seeing kids go beyond what they think or feel is possible brings me and, I know many of you, incredible joy.
I read an article written by a young friend of mine who’s name is Susan Sohn. The article is about Vision and helping our kids have vision for their day, their weeks and ultimately as they grow, their lives. Vision is vital. In this article Susan isn’t referring to our eyesight, rather she speaks to a place within and encourages us to 1) put vision in front of our children 2) help them see 3) help them walk in it.
I’m confident you will get something from this article and hope it serves as a valuable teaching tool as you endeavour to build into your children’s lives.
I’ve heard it quoted and, sadly, I’ve witnessed it happen. Where there is no vision, people perish. I’m not talking about physical eyesight here, rather that internal drive that propels us forward. Some call it vision, others intuition, motivation, a sixth sense or just a knowing that comes from within. The dictionary refers to this kind of vision as:
An experience in which a personage, thing or event appears vividly or credibly to the mind, although not actually present, often under the influence of a divine or other agency or a vivid, imaginative conception or anticipation
When it comes to our children, we need to put vision in front of them. Why? Because, like all of us, they will rise to the vision you present them with. Whether your children are toddlers or teens, constantly putting vision in front of them will ignite something within, propel them forward, encourage them to achieve and reach beyond what they think or feel they are capable of. We need to help them picture the road ahead; help them hold on to hope; help them build a beautiful reality into their lives.
Here is a simple example I have used to translate this:
Say you are going to a friend’s house for dinner or you’re invited out to a restaurant with them. As we approach, we tend to think through how the night might unfold. We want our kids to behave a certain way and we hope for specific outcomes from the evening. More often than not, this vision or idea remains in our head and we don’t share it with our kids. On arrival at our destination, whether it be a house, restaurant or whatever, our kids may not act or conduct themselves in the way we want or had envisaged. As a result, we’re embarrassed and often return home early angry, fighting or arguing.
The challenge here is that we missed a critical step. We could have shared the vision with our kids, equipping them with the tools they needed for a successful night, but we didn’t translate that into a language they could understand and hold on to.
So, here’s what I’d suggest. Before you arrive at your destination, or even before you leave home, share your thoughts and let your kids know how you see that evening panning out. For example:
- We expect you to come to the table when called
- We expect you to eat what is provided for you
- We expect you to be grateful and to engage in conversation
- We expect you to use your manners
- We expect you to look people in the eye
Be precise and unambiguous. Put it out there so that they have something to hold onto. Give them expectations that are achievable and provide them with the tools they need to fulfil them. The formula for success is simple. It’s all about placing vision in front of them, giving them something to hold onto and move towards. A recipe for satisfaction for both parent and child.
Similarly, with their school work or sport, let’s put vision in front of them. How? Ask them:
- What’s your vision for next year?
- What’s your vision for this week?
- Do you have everything you need to succeed this week?
- What assignments are due?
- Can we map out together what this week will look like?
- How are you going to accomplish this?
- Is anything standing in your way?
As busy, distracted parents we can easily miss this step. The step of helping them to plan, organise and strategise. Put vision in front of them in terms of their grades. Help them envision the possibilities, then support them as they walk those hopes and dreams into reality.
I often use the famous quote from Benjamin Franklin that says: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”. Definitely something I’ve had to learn, foster and grow in my own life and, from what I understand, it’s a lifelong journey. Adopt this thinking in your own life and you will be able to help your children have a vision and a plan. Show them what vision looks like and how having vision helps us live strong, confident lives.
I saw a quote today on Instagram which read as follows:
Things I never learned in High School
- How to do taxes
- What taxes are
- How to vote
- How to write a resume/cover letter
- Anything to do with banking
- How to apply for loans for college
- How to buy a car or a house
- But I thank my lucky stars, I can tell you all about Pythagorean Theorems
If I could add one to that list, it would be “How to have vision for your life”. They don’t teach us that in the classroom. I’m thankful to have been born into a family that breathed vision. My parents were visionaries. They blazed trails and broke through glass ceilings. I am forever grateful for the pioneering spirit they passed on to me and my siblings.
So, if we choose to really believe that where there is no vision people perish, then we will understand our critical role in placing vision in front of our children, allowing them to rise up and see the possibilities life holds. Through possibility, we find hope and through hope, we find truth.
We need to help our children see the gold within them that the world so desperately needs. When we share the gift of vision, we prepare , equip and train them for their future – a future they can face with confidence and live out with purpose.