How Do You Want Your Child to Live Their Life?

I was watching the movie “The Croods” the other day. I really enjoy looking for the deeper meaning in these kinds of movies and this movie delivered a great message.

In case you have not seen the movie, it is about the last caveman alive and how he protects his family by believing that anything new is bad. Every story he tells the family at bedtime ends with everyone “dead” because they looked at something new. The teen daughter wanted to see and try new things but was not allowed to and got into trouble any time she ventured out of the cave. She meets a boy who has travelled all over and knows how to do all kinds of things because his parents taught him to dream big and to chase those dreams.

This made me think about how two completely different ways of raising your child can get you totally different results. Then I started to think of some examples of how parents teach their child to fall into one of these two categories. Do you want your child to live in fear or to dream big? I think most want their child to dream big but their actions conflict with that thinking.

For example, when a child tells me a wild story that they have made up, do you as the parent roll your eyes and shake your head or do you smile and nod? Dreaming big starts with imagination and if the parent stifles it at a young age, it will never grow and develop into a tool later. Imagine if any of the great minds of this century – Beethoven, Einstein, Mandela, Edison, etc. – were taught not to imagine, we would not have the things we enjoy today.

When a child tells me a story, I will always add something to the story. This shows the child that imagination is good and if I have given them something more to think about, the story will continue to grow.

Imagination is just like any muscle in our body. It grows and gets stronger when we use it. A lot of kids today lack imagination because of all the electronic stimulation at their finger tips. Television, computers, cell phones, video games can all be good things in moderation, but when was the last time your child “unplugged” from all of these things and played?

Too often, I hear the same story of how bored kids are today if they are not being bombarded with electronics. That is a scary thought! They do not know how to “play” or create something to keep themselves occupied. That is not going to lead them down the path of being a great leader as an adult in our society. The world is full of drones, but those who can think and create and solve problems rise to the top as leaders.

So what things are you doing to help your child dream big, become “uplugged” or develop their imagination?

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