Kids are such big dreamers. They’re born visionaries. They create the most beautiful and magical scenarios – and we were like that too. And then somewhere along the way, tragically, someone told us to get realistic and get our heads out of the clouds and maybe those big dreams faded. One of the main limits keeping most adults from living this small safe life is failing to dream big enough. We become so stuck in our habits that we forget how far we can go if we put our minds to it.
So I’ve just kinda been thinking about that and today I wanted to share 3 ideas I had for how we can raise and encourage our big dreamers in their big visions. We all want our kids to live a big fulfilling impactful life. And I really think that teaching our kids to dream big is going to help lead them there.
How many of you know the world needs more visionaries, amen?
1. Create Vision Boards Together
So my first idea, and this is something we’re going to implement in our family the week between Christmas and New Year’s, is we’re going to have a family vision board night. I’ve always seen vision boards created only by adults – why?! They can have the same amazing benefits for our kids and they are visual, so even our littlest dreamers can choose pictures that represent their dreams and visions for the year ahead. I’m so excited to do this.
I was wondering what my local library does with old magazines. I don’t know if they archive them, but I’m gonna call and ask if I can have any old ones that they recycle or I’m just gonna go to a Barnes and Noble or something and buy a few magazines. Another idea is that if my kids are specific in their vision, I can offer to Google and print out pictures for them of what they want, and maybe they could even color them. If any of you guys end up having a vision board night with your families, let me know how you go about getting the pictures – I’m super curious.
So I think this is going to be super fun, but also, I’m so excited about the opportunity I know I’m going to have to coach and teach them about goals, and setting goals, and the steps to achieve goals, and the mindsets to achieve their goals.
So if your 12-year-old is putting a picture of a Lambo on his vision board, mama this is not the time or the place (and I don’t know if there even is one) to tell him to get realistic. There is no eye-rolling on vision board night. This isn’t the time to tell him that’s ridiculous. This isn’t the time to remind him that he doesn’t even have a license or a job yet. This is an invitation for you to restrain yourself and any dream-crushing urges that arise.
So let me coach you on what it is the time for:
- It’s a time to connect with him and get to know him better. And this is true for all our kids and all their dreams and visions. What a beautiful opportunity you have to get to know your kids better. How they tick. What motivates them? What inspires them? Whoa, that’s a really cool car – tell me more about why you decided to include it on your board. What does it represent for you? How do you imagine yourself in that car? And then shut up and listen. Without criticism. Without judgment. Just listen. You are going to learn so much.
- It is also time to have a gentle, open, fun discussion about what it takes to make our big dreams a reality. Your 12-year-old wants a Lambo someday – that end goal might – probably – will change as he grows and matures, but that doesn’t matter. There are foundational steps he can work toward today that will serve him well no matter what car he drives at 35. For sure! And this is a great opportunity to start to explore and teach that.
What would it take for you to have a car like that one day? Yeah, that’s right – it would take a lot of money. Do you think you could have a lot of money one day? Yeah, I think so too. There are a lot of ways to make money, right? What are some ways? Yeah, you have to have courage and vision and take action to share your skills, and ideas, and products with people who find it valuable enough to exchange their money for them. And then be intentional with your money so you have extra income to spend on things that excite you. Interesting – is that something you can start working on now? What are some skills you already have you could start exchanging for money? Yeah, you can mow lawns, wash cars, etc. Cool – maybe you could include something like that in your vision board to remind you of the steps you can focus on how to achieve that big goal one day?
And this goes for any dream or vision your kids put on their board. Maybe it’s making new friends. Maybe it’s going to Disney. Maybe it’s learning to play the guitar. Maybe it’s getting a new doll (which is probably part of what my girls are going to want to put on theirs).
And once these boards are created, don’t let them end up on the floor of their bedroom or something. Display them somewhere your kids can see them often. And then talk about them on a regular. Maybe on Sunday nights, you have a 2-minute vision board checkin while you have dinner or while you’re putting them to bed. And you just check in on what they’ve done that week to move their goal or vision forward. What worked? What didn’t? What felt aligned? What felt like it moved the needle? What’re they proud of? Where were they resilient? What are they going to focus on in the new week ahead? Getting them to evaluate their strengths and opportunities – these are life skills and friends.
2. Pay attention to their self-talk
A big dream is a powerful idea. Different people have different dreams. Unique people have unique ideas. That’s how the world goes around. That’s how discoveries are made and innovations created that make life gets better for all of us. And on the journey towards achieving our dreams, we will need all the motivation and encouragement that we can muster.
And mamas, this is the battlefield of the mind, right? Whether our kids can dream big, and then make any progress toward their big goals and visions, is going to come down to whether they believe they can and what their inner voices are telling them.
And guess where those voices are formed – in childhood by the voices of our caregivers. I promise you, for most of you listening who struggle with a strong inner critic – a loud inner critic – if you stop to pay attention, it’s probably the voice of your mom or dad or grandma or whoever raised you who was critical of you. Or hard on you. Or expected a lot out of you and put inordinate pressure on you.
So we have to be really intentional about how we’re speaking to our kids because that in turn is going to be how they speak to themselves. And we know – turning big dreams and big vision requires some big action which requires some big resilience. Some big faith. Our kids need to believe they’re worthy of achieving their big dreams. That they have what it takes. Last Monday’s episode was all about raising optimistic kids – pessimism is the #1 dream killer. They’re gonna have all kinds of cynics telling them all the reasons why their dreams are too lofty. Why it won’t work out. Negativity is the path of least resistance. We talked about this on Monday too – we’re wired to look out for the negative. It takes so much intentionality to come against that. So we have to help our kids to develop the ability to block out the naysayers.
So what language do you notice them using when it comes to their dreams and visions? What words do you choose when you’re speaking with them about their big dream? What comes out of their mouth reflects what is going on within them. Think possibilities and speak possibilities. Believe in their dreams and say so when you speak with them. Words have power; they can be used to build up or tear down.
3. Surround them with big dreamers
There’s a quote that “Your net worth is your network” – is that idea that you’re likely to be the average of who you choose to surround yourself with. So there’s power in who we choose to spend time with. Who we choose to let speak into our lives. Whose energy we allow into our space – our mental space, our emotional space, and our physical space. And this is also true for our kids. So if we want them to be big dreamers. If we want them to be visionaries. We can expose them to big dreamers and big visionaries.
And these can be real people in their lives. People who are bold and do big things. People who are resilient and faith-filled. People who aren’t afraid to fail and try again.
Whether it’s a personal mentor, a teacher, a coach, an uncle, a friend of yours, or even a historical figure – introducing other big dreamers around the world helps encourage kids to do the same. These iconic dreamers have paved the way and shown the world that anything is possible. Use their stories to encourage kids and show them that their dreams are never too far from reach.
Watch inspirational movies, read biographies, listen to Ted Talks – whatever motivates and inspires them. I’m getting fired up just talking about this – so many opportunities.
And how do you encourage your children’s dreams? Let us know in the comments!
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