If there is one thing I have learned since becoming a parent, it’s that I am a role model for my children. Being that I work full-time, I have learned how to balance my goals as a writer with motherhood. And I’ve found it important to give my two sons direction, along with a high dose of encouragement, for them to pursue their dreams, too.
Here are the ways I show them how it’s done.
#1 I Show Up for Myself.
Show up for your own dream. Don’t talk about it and then forget about it, but demonstrate how important it is to you by doing. It’s harder to go back on your word once you have made a verbal declaration. I have found that I must do what I tell my children I will do, whenever possible. I know my children are watching and absorbing my every move.
If I don’t show up for my dream, how can I expect my kids to do the same? That alone is enough of an incentive for me.
When you show up for your dream, you prove that it can be done. Not only will you feel fantastic for proving it to yourself, but you’re doing a favor for your whole family.
#2 I Teach the Value of Creating a Plan of Action.
I suggest creating a plan of action for your child’s goals. It could mean getting out a notebook or journal and writing it down. Start by asking your child questions: What do they most care about? What do they want to accomplish first? Use your own dream as an example, or perhaps someone you know who has had success with following their dream.
Make it understood to your child that the plan can be revised at any time. Be reminded that the foundation of the plan is open to tweaking and growing with them.
#3 I Apply the Steps and Let Them See Me Do It.
I make sure that my sons understand that the hardest part about pursuing a dream is starting. But they also know the good news, which is that, once it is written down, it is easier to apply the steps. Getting past the fear is crucial because you will find that the rest falls into place.
This is the part where I remind them to start implementing what will take them from baby steps to bigger steps. Maybe one of the steps might be to learn something new, research or find a mentor he admires.
Beginning is the first priority. Celebrating the small wins keeps the motivation going. Often those are easy to overlook because of the rush to get to the finish line.
#4 I Learn From My Own Failures.
As with anything new, failure will happen a number of times. Understand that this is part of the process, and make sure your child grasps this. No one great at their craft ever started by knowing it all or being perfect; it is a journey that involves patience and resilience. Think of a rubber band: once you pull back, it always bounces back. That is the way your approach to your dreams must be—while realizing that, with time, they can become a reality.
Failing repeatedly doesn’t mean that you are not meant to do what you desire to do. Instead, it means that you must perfect what you are passionate about. My sons know that they must put in the work and let themselves make mistakes in order to become successful.
One of my sons learned this when he started playing tennis; he had to start with the basics. Over time, his technique improved tremendously. Why? Because he didn’t give up.
#5 I Stay Committed—No Matter What.
The only way to see a dream come to life is by staying committed to it. This is something that I have instilled in my children. Over the years, I have been guilty of starting something and not finishing it. That never got me very far.
Diligence is a topic we continue to talk about in our family to this day. To be able to share the not-so-great realities of giving up on something is golden. They are nuggets of wisdom that I pass down with the hope that my kids will follow their dreams.
My experiences help them understand that everyone starts somewhere. That nothing is impossible to obtain. Also, that with time and patience, they will manifest their goals, too.
Failure will always be part of the pursuit, but commitment goes even farther. Dreams rely on the passion and drive that are put into them. Without those attributes, they remain based on something that was once only wished upon.
All dreams start as a wish. There is beauty in that. Yet, knowing that you are in it for the long haul; until you reach your goal? Now, that is priceless. I make sure my children know this.