In The Daily Fix yesterday, we talked about how to find a vision for your life, and how to fulfill that vision. (If you missed it, I would highly recommend you go back and read it today!) I want to share more about vision today because this is an area that tends to be neglected when equipping children to succeed.
A lot of people possess a belief that is absolutely detrimental to your success and the success of your children: "Don’t get your hopes up."
Many parents who say this to their children really mean no harm. They are simply trying to protect their kids from disappointment. But you’ve got to look at what this belief produces in a person.
Your child has a vision and a purpose in life. They have a huge destiny! Every child is born with enthusiasm, persistence, adventure, resilience and faith, and all of these characteristics are necessary for them to fulfill their destiny.
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When a child is told, "Don’t get your hopes up," he loses his enthusiasm and faith. His sense of adventure is diminished, and his persistence and resilience fade. Over time, his vision becomes so small. Why? Because he was afraid to get his hopes up. He was afraid to believe he could achieve anything he set his mind to. So he played it "safe" and stuck to a vision that didn’t require him to stretch and grow or get his hopes up.
When our kids were very young, I asked them, "What has God planted in your heart to do?" It’s amazing that not much has changed since then. The occupations may have changed a bit through the years, but the calling hasn’t.
As a parent, grandparent, teacher or friend, it’s important to look for a child’s natural strengths, talents and gifting, and then nurture them to stay focused on his or her goal.
Our youngest son, Micah, is a great example of this. We first discovered he had artistic gifting when he was about a year old. Micah "painted" his bedroom with poop 23 times. I’m not kidding! He would wake up from a nap with poop in his diaper, and then paint the textured walls with it. I used to get so frustrated when he did this, until one day I realized why he did it. He is an artist! He expressed himself with his hands from a very early age.
When he was a litte older, I asked him, "Son, what has been put in your heart to do?" Micah replied, "I want to be an artist." I did not say, "Oh, honey, don’t get your hopes up," or "Haven’t you ever heard of starving artists?" Instead, I told him, "Mommy is going to help equip you to be the best you can possibly be. While you’re in this house, my job is to train you to do what God has placed in your heart to do."
When Micah was 5, we took him to an art gallery in San Francisco. He stopped and said, "Mom, I just can’t believe this. It’s so beautiful! Look at the colors. It makes me feel funny inside." I said, "Micah, do you want to do this someday?" He said, "Yes! But Mommy, I’m not that good."
Doubt was already entering his 5-year-old mind! I looked at him and said, "Micah, God has already put it in your hands to do this. You were created and designed with everything it takes to do this. All you have to do is seek God and work diligently with the right attitude."
He has done that, and today he is a brilliant artist! He draws beautifully and has started painting a breathtaking mural on his bedroom wall (with real paint this time). He has written several books, and he plays the most beautiful music on the piano. This gift of art has been placed inside him, and we are doing what we can to equip him to work inside that vision and purpose.
Artists can work in many innovative and productive positions — not a starving artist! He could be a graphic designer, architect, publisher, animator, illustrator, writer — and each of these careers earns great money! Micah could own a graphic design firm. The possibilities are endless! It all depends on how we help develop his gift.
My friend, I know you desire to see your children reach their full potential in life. I know you want to see them succeed beyond their wildest dreams. And this is a great way to put them on the right path.
Look for their natural talents, and help position and guide them in that direction. Remind them of their goals to help them stay on track, and encourage them to believe they can do it!
Share this message with every parent, family member, teacher, friend or babysitter you know today. Post this link on Facebook and Twitter, and let’s equip our next generation to succeed!
I can’t wait to talk to you LIVE this Sunday night on The Dani Johnson Show! Tune in on your TV or radio at 9 pm ET/8 pm CT and join the discussion.
In great faith,
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