I was reading Daily Wisdom for Moms by Michelle Medlock Adams the other day and I came across a devotional about helping our kids to dream.
(If you’ve been reading my blog a while, you know this topic is close to my heart. One of my favorite parenting books isn’t really a parenting book at all; it’s a book about pursuing dreams. It’s the book that gave me the idea to start dream journals for my kids to help them capture the desires of their hearts.)
Anyway, at the end of the devotional I was reading, Michelle wrote a prayer…
“Father, help me to fan the dreams You’ve placed within my children. Amen.”
And I realized, that’s what we moms are…
Fanners of Dreams.
We have the power
in our words,
in our tone,
in our actions,
to either help our kids’ dreams grow from a tiny spark into a flame
or to diminish them, minimize them, or even put them out.
Sometimes, our kids are clear about what they dream of becoming or about what they want to do in life. But, I think more often, the clues to our kids’ dreams–to who they were created to be–lie in the little things they say and do.
My son (age 9) loves to build things. He loves to understand how things work and he’s always asking questions (some of things he asks blow my mind).
Does this mean he’ll be an engineer or an architect?
I don’t know. He loves other things too. His eyes light up when he mentions coming up with his own business idea or inventing something that nobody else has thought of. He has a strong sense of right and wrong and he talks about being a police officer someday too.
The key is,
how I react as a mom
when he talks about what he likes to do,
or what he wants to be,
can make all the difference in whether he pursues his dreams
We have an awesome privilege and opportunity as parents to encourage our kids to have dreams for their lives and to strive to fulfill their dreams.
Because those dreams were put in their hearts for a reason.
So how can we be Fanners of Dreams (and not extinguishers)? Here are some tips:
1. Talk to your kids about their dreams. Encourage them, even at a young age, to think about what they like to do and what they imagine themselves being when they grow up.
2. Get your kids dream journals and help them to capture their dreams. Encourage them that all things are possible (a great verse for this – Philippians 4:13) and help them understand the positive impact they can have on the world.
3. Take note. What activities make your kids excited and enthused vs. what activities do they not enjoy? Make an effort to notice what helps your kids grow and what fulfills them.
4. Don’t stop at taking note; take action. If your daughter excels at science and asks to go to science camp, don’t send her to soccer camp instead because that sounds more fun to you. If your son is enrolled in Karate and hates it, finish the commitment, then try looking for something he truly enjoys. Be perceptive about what interests your kids (sports? music? math? art?), then find activities that will nurture those interests.
If your kids are older, talk to them about the strengths you see in them, encourage them to research different school or career options, and help empower them to make changes in their lives if necessary in order to pursue their dreams.
5. Share your dreams. When your kids see you dreaming, they’ll learn to dream too.
6. Love unconditionally. In the same way your dreams might have changed throughout your life, your kids’ dreams will likely change as they grow too. Be supportive and encouraging (and let them know that failure can be an important learning experience). If you love dance and always wanted to be dancer, that doesn’t mean your daughter will too. And just because you hope your son becomes a doctor doesn’t mean he won’t dream of owning his own restaurant instead.
Helping your kids to dream isn’t about pushing them to do what you want, or to accomplish more, faster.
It’s about encouraging them to find their gifts and strengths, and supporting them in the journey. :)
-Some of my other posts about pursuing dreams: Are You Dreaming?, Keep on Dreaming, Lessons From the Rock Wall, Failure can be Sweet?
-A great resource: Sometimes, we may not know what our own dreams are. If that’s you, click over and take the Strong Life Test for Women to get a better idea of what your strengths may be. (To read how I heard about this test at a Women of Faith Conference and what I learned by taking it, click here.)
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