Teach Your Child to Remember the Future
As parents, we want our children to have a great future. A great future has one ingredient that we cannot overlook. Adding this ingredient into the mix will help direct our children into a positive future. What is that ingredient? A memory! That’s right—a positive future demands a memory. Think about it…
· To truly anticipate a joyous future, a person needs memories that spark gratitude. Memories of gratefulness for kindnesses received, days of learning, effort that led to accomplishment, and exciting days of fun builds anticipation for similar events in the future. Help your children develop a history of gratitude by encouraging them to offer thanks for what they have and modeling thankfulness yourself.
· To have a future free of excessive worry, your children needs memories of support, encouragement, and coaching in problem-solving. Build those memories by supporting your child through times of difficulty and encouraging them when the going gets tough. Spend time listening to them talk about relational and personal difficulties they experience. Listen carefully, acknowledge and encourage their efforts, validate their emotions, and help coach them in ways to successfully navigate those difficult times.
· To have a future of positive relationships, our children need to have a memory of how their behaviors impact others and a practical memory of forgiveness and reconciliation. You can help your child build these memories by pointing out how their misbehavior and positive behavior impacts you and others. Let them know that screaming in the restaurant is disturbing the other diners. Let them know that helping you clean the house has made your life easier, gave you greater joy and pride, and allowed more time for you to enjoy a fun activity with them. Teach them the power of apology by example as well as direction. One of the greatest lessons in apology occurs when we, as parents, apologize to our children for some mistake we have made. Allow them to witness your forgiveness in your marriage and friendships. These memories will guide them into a future filled with positive relationships.
· To have a future filled with personal growth, our children need memories of self-reflection as well as accomplishing goals and solving problems through effort and patience. Personal growth is necessary, but not necessarily easy. To grow in any area of our life demands some self-reflection. We have to reflect upon our current standing as well as the level we would like to attain and what we need to learn to “move from here to there.” Even more, we need to make the effort to “move from here to there,” patiently moving forward and persisting through setbacks. One of the best ways to teach your children these skills is to give them the gift of your memories. Tell them about the effort and patience you had to have to achieve your goals. Perhaps even more influential is to tell them about times you did not practice the self-reflection, patience, and hard-work necessary to reach some goal and, as a result, fell short. In this sense, you give your children a great gift—the gift of your memories and the lessons you learned through them.
You get the idea. Our children need memories to create a strong foundation on which they can build a great future. Give them those memories in their own life and from your life. In doing so, you help them lay the foundation for a great future.