The Search Institute has done years of research on how kids turn out to be healthy, contributing members of society. They are probably most well-known for their list of 40 developmental assets that kids need to be successful as adults. Number 40 has always intrigued me: Positive View of Personal Future.
In essence, when kids feel good about their future they are more likely to make wise choices, set goals and move toward them. You can help set the stage for success for your kids, by cultivating skill and joy in serving others.
To strengthen your child’s expectation about her future:
- Pay attention to what your child enjoys: Let her know that you recognize the interests she has and provide opportunities for her to use them; particularly to serve others. All three of our daughters have “performed” for our always-willing retired neighbors with their musical instruments of choice. Often to rousing applause and smiles!
- Pay attention to the unique gifting of your child: What special talent or gift does he have? One family friend has a great gift for juggling! He has brought this gift to many places, including Africa. There is no limit to what God can do with any gift when done in service to Him.
Pay attention to the especially difficult behaviors and the gifts it takes to do them: That’s right, pay attention to difficult behaviors. It takes talent to misbehave! How could the energy exerted to achieve such amazing misbehavior be used for good? What unique gifts are shining through? (See our blog: 12 Misbehaviors and the God-given Gifts Behind Them)
- Pay attention to your own anxieties about your child’s future: Fearing your child’s future because of the present struggle passes your anxiety onto your child. Instead, ask God for a picture of what future He envisions for your child. Let go of the need to control your child.
Apply it Now:
- What view of your child’s future do you have?
- What will you do with your anxieties about your child’s future?
- What unique gifts does your child possess that you could encourage?
- How could you grow a belief in your child that God wants to use his life for significant purposes?
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