Our children have amazing potential. They have special abilities and talents that make them unique. As they grow, those strengths, abilities, and talents begin to take shape and grow into hopes and dreams. As parents, our work is to nurture those dreams. How can we nurture our children’s hopes and dreams? How can we help our children reach their full potential? In many ways, nurturing our children’s dreams is like nurturing a garden.
First, we have to work the soil. We want to make sure the soil of our children’s dream is fertile and filled with nutrients. We work to develop and establish an environment that will support and nourish the seeds of our children’s dreams. To do so, we have to honor their dream, matching it with the soil of their God-given abilities and talents. We avoid forcing them to live out our expectations and dreams which would be like trying to grow a good seed (their dream) in the wrong soil (our dreams). We, as parents, become students of our children to discover their God-given ability and nurture those abilities, encouraging them to meet the potential God has given them. Let me say again, we must honor their dream, the dream that matches their God-given strengths, talents, and potential…not ours. We work the soil of their lives to nurture their God-given talents to grow their dreams…not ours. In the process of preparing the soil, we utilize generous portions of acceptance, a potent fertilizer of dreams. Assure that your children know that you accept and appreciate their unique abilities and preferences. This is an important step in nurturing your children’s dreams.
Dreams also grow best in a warm climate that provides safety and security. Parents nurture dreams by maintaining a home that instills a sense of safety and security for their children. A climate of safety and security flows out of parental availability, attentiveness, and emotional connection. In addition, a regular sprinkling of encouragement and sincere appreciation keeps the soil moist and waters the seeds of our children’s dreams.
Second, we have to nurture the sprouts that begin to grow. Dreams do not produce fruit overnight. They sprout and grow through the seasons of childhood and adolescence. Initially, dreams are fragile. We must be careful not to drown them with an overabundance of activity or by pushing them to grow beyond their developmental ability. We have to protect our children’s dreams from predators and negative influences. For instance, other people may downplay or discourage our children’s dreams. Peers may ridicule or belittle those dreams. We need to counteract those naysayers with a generous supply of encouragement, support, and love.
As those dreams begin to grow, we can help our children refine their dream, thinning out those distractions that do not match their unique skills and abilities. This is a gentle and delicate process. We move carefully and gently to encourage our children to find their niche while being careful to not disrupt the roots of healthy hopes and dreams that grow beneath the surface. This demands careful and loving pruning of offshoots as our children continue to grow. Loving discipline will help train the branches of our children’s dreams to grow tall and strong, able to bear the fruit of their labors.
Keeps these steps in mind and your children’s dreams will blossom, bringing great joy to you and your child.