It occurred to me recently that we’ve been doing this all wrong. As a society, we’ve fallen into the same traps that we swore we wouldn’t repeat when we were kids; The trap of “conformity”.
Kids are born as individuals, free thinkers, creators, passionate investigators, Optimists and they have to be programmed to hate life.
I know that most of us don’t think of ourselves as “dream killers”, but let’s walk through this for a second:
What happens when we put 30 kids in a classroom with one teacher? Conformity.
What happens when we give all of the kids the same book to learn out of? Conformity.
What happens when kids sit in front of a screen and watch the mainstream shows day in and day out? Conformity.
What happens when we give our kids social media and let them interact with the most popular of the crowd? Conformity.
Is this really what we want?
Was this our idea of “raising kids”?
Kids must be taught to let go of their dreams, to think small, to ignore their inner voice.
They have to be reminded over and over to “think inside the box” until one day they conform and crumble under the weight of school, debt, depression, anxiety and work work WORK, never to look back at their dreams again.
Sadly, this is literally killing our kids. Children today are more depressed and unfulfilled than ever before and every 100 minutes a teen takes their own life. You don’t need statistics to convince you, it’s easy to see as you look around and listen to todays young people talk about life.
So what can we do about it?
Michelle and I have decided to stop this cycle with our kids and I invite you to do the same!
The first thing you have to realize is that raising thriving children is not convenient. It not only takes quality face to face time, it takes research, testing, apologizing, trying again, changing your schedule, rearranging your life, reading more books, planning ahead and yes, even changing jobs, if you must, to raise healthy kids!
Rarely does convenience breed success. The best things in life take work!
Here are some simple tips to start raising thriving kids and get out of the conformity mindset.
- Today, try to find 3 opportunities to say “yes” instead of “no” (it will most likely be inconvenient, but it’s worth it).
- Commit to spending 30 minutes a day just being with your kids and LISTENING to them; no phones, no distractions, no correction (within reason), just BE with them.
- Write down what you think your kid’s dreams are and then go ask them. I think you’ll be surprised at what they write. Don’t try to change their mind, just encourage them. I should note that I like to encourage my kids, but I don’t give them false hope. For instance, if my 12 year old son says he wants to be an astronaut , I’d say “Great! You should work towards that. You’ll need to know a lot about math and science and astronomy and that will be fun to learn! If you’re willing to put in the time, you’re gonna do great!”. This gives him a realistic idea that good things in life take work, and it is very rewarding when you accomplish them! Of course, if you have a 4 year old who wants to be a trash man, there’s no need to go into detail, just have him start taking out the trash 😉
- Send your kids into nature, without screens, and let them get bored. Lookup some ideas of what they can do outside and then let them reignite their imagination! Beware, this may produce wailing and gnashing of teeth for a bit, but don’t give up. Eventually, they will detox from screens and their creativity will flourish. I should also note that we are careful to know where our kids are and what they are doing. Boredom is a great tool, but in the wrong crowd it can breed mischief and bullying so keep your eyes peeled. Your kids may need a little more coaching at first to get into constructive play, but after a while they will be digging in the dirt, making play swords out of sticks, and solving cancer.
- Lastly, READ SOME BOOKS! Michelle and I are reading “Thrivers” by Michelle Borba right now and it is truly an eye opener. I plan to write a post about the book as we get further along.
If you’re like us, you’re human and you haven’t figured it all out so take a moment and FORGIVE YOURSELF for your shortcomings and move on! Find a support group, follow people on social media that are raising thriving kids and immerse yourself in a tribe of people who are talking and sharing about raising wonderful, stress free, thriving kids!
It’s never too late to reignite your kid’s dreams and raise Thrivers!
It just takes a few steps and a serious change of mind 😊