Supporting Your Child's Dreams at Every Age


I recently asked my son what he wants to be when he grows up. His response, 'I'm gonna be a rock star! I want to go to rock star college and then have my own band with my friends!' It's only natural that my kids have an incredible interest in music, and the stage looks oh, so appealing. My husband has already raised eyebrows at our son's mention of wanting to be a rock star when he grows up. Rather than poo-poo his very early career decision, I've tried to make my best efforts in encouraging my son and setting him up for success.


Here's how you can support your child's dreams at any age...

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of one day becoming a singer or a writer. I've been singing for crowds since I was just a little girl, and it's always been a passion and love of mine. I also loved writing stories when I was growing up, and eventually dabbled in poetry and songwriting. While I'm passionate about singing and enjoy speaking in front of others, writing has always been my first love. My parents were always incredibly supportive, no matter what I told them I was interested in, and I count myself pretty blessed in that regard because I know plenty of friends and acquaintances who didn't have that kind of support or encouragement.



What did you dream about when you were younger?

A good place to start when seeking out ways to encourage or support your own kiddos is to think back to your own childhood. What were your own dreams when you were a child? Did you have a loving, supportive and encouraging village, equipping you and cheering you on?

Listen

When your kids are excited about something, it's hard not to want to jump in with immediate advice. Let them come to you and express their excitement, and talk about their interests. My son has an obvious interest in music, so we often talk about the many ways he can learn about music, pursue learning instruments, etc. I like to sit down with him in a quiet space and let him pour his heart out when it comes to the things he's passionate about.

Encourage

When my son comes home from school, one of the first things he likes to do is tell me about his day. There's the listening aspect again- I listen and ask questions to keep the conversation flowing. B likes to create his own rock band with his friends and likes to make lists of songs they want to play, or even write his own lyrics to share with his friends. This is a familiar scenario for me, so it does make me smile, and makes me a very proud mama. When he wants to make songs lists or write songs, I provide him with a pencil and a stack of paper and let him have at it. If and when he's ready to share what's he's written, I listen. If he hits a snag and asks for help, I help or offer a solution to a problem he might be facing.

Equip

It's too early to say whether or not my son will ever have a career in music. It's not an expectation, and I fully realize that he may change his likes and dislikes a million times during his life, and that's perfectly okay. My job as his parent is to make sure that he has the tools he needs to succeed in all he does. So, we've started learning guitar (more on this adventure later!), and have made plans for B to take piano lessons, which will help give him a musical foundation to learn from and build on as he goes through life. We've even talked about enrolling him in our local kid's theatre camp next summer!

This is the face of a go-getter!

Kids can change their minds in a blink of an eye, and I'm not suggesting that you shell out tons of money for something they may or may not stick with. I learned that lesson the hard way after a horrific soccer camp experience. My point is, don't be afraid to let them try new things that interest them. Look for free or low-cost programs in your community which will help give kids a taste of a sport or the arts, engineering (LEGO STEM Camps, anyone?). Check out church programs and sports leagues, and give your kids the opportunity to be a part of a group or a team. It doesn't mean that they'll have a perfect fit every time, but allowing them these new and different experiences will help them in their decision making and allow them to discover new and exciting things in life.

I have a feeling that we'll try lots of different things with both kids. My oldest wants to play soccer on a team, wants to take karate, and still wants music lessons, possibly with dance classes! My rule is one thing a time, and school & church come first. That way, life still has a good balance, and mom and dad aren't shuffling kids from one thing to the next every waking moment of the day or night. Don't let your kids or yourself become burned out!



The best way to encourage?

Lot's of love, hugs, and encouraging words that speak life and hope. An encouraged generation will be a loving, caring, thoughtful, productive generation in the years to come.

What are some of the ways you encourage your kids? Let's chat about it in the comment thread or over on social media!

May you be encouraged to live your best life & be an encouraging light to others!

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