Three Ways to Encourage Your Child to Follow Their Dreams
We want the best for our child and we toil endlessly to make sure they get it. But what is their best? The gadgets and education we provide and save for are good, but is there more? Now that we are adults, what do we truly value? Our family and those we love are certainly at the top. Surprisingly, though, studies reveal that the #1 regret at death is not the desire to have shared more love, but this: Not having followed an inner calling; postponing a deep passion; and the loss of not courageously declaring and living one’s life purpose.
It’s gutsy to live our life purpose, for to do so, we must prioritize our desires in the face of relentless day-in-day-out. Pursuing our life purpose often runs against the modicum, the safe and the reasonable. I am deeply moved as I write this- how do we prepare our child to live the life that quietly screams within them? Here are three ways to enliven your child’s ability to listen to and trust their inner voice; the ability to do this will yield better odds of no regrets at the end of their life.
Listen so your child feels heard. When we allow our child to talk to us and we listen fully, we do more than just pay attention- we increase their capacity to trust and believe in themselves. The granted request for attention says “I’m valuable. I’m important.” Take the concept further and consult your child’s wisdom on every day choices. Something as little as asking for their ‘expertise’ on which can of soup to buy- “I’m just not sure which one I should get- what do you think?” or “Should I use garlic in this or not?” will pull their esteem front and center. They don’t need to know that it’s your stealth method to strengthen their most vital muscle, the one they will depend on for the rest of their no-regrets life!
Invite your child to befriend their intuition. Spend time harvesting their inner feelings and hunches. Devote conversations to each others’ dreams and desires. This act will open the territory of talking to you during their teen years when they REALLY need you. When you’ve shown them that you’re available and happy to talk and spend time with them, they’ll feel safe exposing their meandering verbal journeys with you. This all will add up to their confidence on their inner path. Expose YOUR aimless verbal journeys to them, too. My son, Mark, and I spent hours jawing over our dreams, hopes and aspirations, and I believe that is why, even now that he’s 34, a happy husband and father of 3, that we still do. We built a life-long relationship on this.
Take 5 minutes each day and ask your child about their feelings. What did their inner voice say to them today? What did they sense about others in their interactions at school? Intuition is our most important tool. As we exercise it we develop its strength. Intuitional sensitivity will keep your child safe in a world that sometimes is not. Validate your child’s inner hunches by spending time with them on it and by sharing your own.
Practice these 3 ideas and add some great ones of your own. Watch an amazing connection develop with your child that keeps them going strong if their life’s path is not popular or others don’t understand it. This more than anything else will help your child live a life of no regrets- and THAT is one of the greatest gifts we can give out child!
(photo: Our First Mate Barack Obama and His Mother)
What are some ways you encourage your child's purpose? Helpful exercises are always welcome!
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About our guest columnist:
Since 1995, Lorraine Pursell, The Parent Mentor, has devoted her life to helping families have harmony and balance. She’s a Marriage, Family and Child Counselor and a board certified educational therapist.