11 Oct Teaching Children The Art Of Dreaming Big
I often share stories with young people about two big dreams I had.
The first was my dream of singing the national anthem at a Blue Jays game. Despite being told no multiple times, my persistence helped turn that dream into a reality.
The second was my audition on Canadian Idol. The judges told me I couldn’t sing and I should do something else. When I left the competition that day I felt sad, frustrated, angry and disappointed. I felt like giving up. I realized that if I chose to give up I wouldn’t be respecting myself and my dreams.
Even though some people thought my dreams were unrealistic, I decided to believe in me. Another person that always chose to believe in me and my big dream was my mum. Her support means more than I can ever express.
I’m so glad I decided to learn the important lessons the challenging circumstances were teaching me – lessons of determination, putting in the effort, overcoming challenges and most importantly – bouncing back from disappointment. I am now a full time motivational speaker and singer – a career I absolutely love.
Big dreams allow children to learn that they are responsible for their choices, rather than being a victim of their circumstances. Setbacks and challenges will happen. They teach creativity and flexibility. They open their mind to new possibilities, innovations and develop empathy for themselves and others.
It’s important to give children ongoing support in dreaming big and in helping to achieve their dreams. Here’s 6 ways you can help your children become big dreamers.
1. Dream Together
It’s important to be a role model for your children and a great way to start is to dream together, not only as individuals but also as a family.
Share your dreams with your children. They will gain courage in their own dreams, when they see you chasing yours, celebrating your successes and bouncing back from your challenges.
2. Be Inspired By Other Big Dreamers
Your children can learn from the world’s top scientists, musicians, entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, books, movies, and even TED talks. They can also learn from inspiring people in your family and community.
Discuss the challenges and successes these people encountered and ask your children how they can apply what they learned to their own lives.
3. Turn Dreams Into Goals
Dreams become achievable through goal setting and action. Start by encouraging your children to keep a journal, make a bucket list or even a UPower map.
Help them research what needs to happen to make their dream a reality. For example, finding out I needed to provide a recording of myself singing to the Blue Jays was a turning point in making that dream a reality.
4. Create Accountability
Working together to break down their goals into manageable, achievable chunks allows them to see that effort pays off and that goals are achieved through small steps and consistent action.
Put time frames on actions to create accountability and structure. Then, if those commitments aren’t met, talk about what stopped them.
5. Address challenges, setbacks, and failures
Young people need to learn that challenges and mistakes are normal. What’s important is how they approach them. They need to:
Believe it’s possible.
Put in the effort.
Let them know that the word ‘NO’ doesn’t always mean something isn’t possible, it means they may need more information, a more creative solution and that it is another opportunity to hear ‘YES’. Mistakes and setbacks are opportunities to learn and grow.
6. Encourage positive self-talk
What children say to themselves matter. In my UPower Journal, I teach children the following affirmations:
I can do this.
I will put in the effort.
I can succeed.
I don’t need to know all the answers.
I can ask for help.
I just haven’t achieved it YET.
Over time what children say and repeat to themselves will determine their self confidence and ability to bounce back. It can even affect how big they allow themselves to dream.
Now that you have a recipe to help your children dream big. I hope you’ll let yourself DREAM BIG too!
Until next time…
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