Tuesday April 6 2021

Help Your Kids Work Towards A Bright Future – Part 1

Not long ago, a couple asked me to meet with their son who was having trouble finding direction for his future. He’d become uninterested in his studies—it was difficult for him to recognise how his school projects and assignments could matter to him in the future.

In this young man’s case, I felt that technology had played a role in his troubles, perhaps damaging his initiative by reinforcing a belief that everything in life should be quick and easy. But as we talked, I observed that technology had also connected him to the larger world and its problems. When I asked him what issues he was interested in, he lit up and began talking excitedly about what problems he’d love to tackle. Together we brainstormed some specific ways that his courses and assignments were equipping him to face these challenges. By being able to recognise the value in his learning, he found an effective motivation and did much better in school.

Engaged, not apathetic

Many teens and young adults struggle with connecting the present to their future. This prevents them from persevering, from knowing how to navigate around life’s roadblocks. When they discover a vision for their future, they’ll be more willing to strive for success. They’ll be engaged rather than apathetic.

This all starts with helping kids learn two powerful beliefs that form their view about who they are and how their future can look. What are those essential beliefs? 

Kids must believe: 

    1. that they have value, and 
    2. that growth and learning are valuable.

Their value affects their view of the future 

Children who know they have value—who think of themselves positively in the present—are better equipped to conceive of a positive future. And through this process, they understand the real-world things that can help them create this future. That includes a near future of next month and a more distant future of meaningful work and service.

Ensuring your children believe they have value is one of the most important things you’ll ever do. This affects how motivated they’ll be and the direction of their motivation. They won’t feel the need to strive for external things to create value. They know they already have value because a loving God created them and sent his Son to save them from sin — and because you tell them they’re valuable and important to you.

If children don’t believe in themselves, they also start to believe they don’t need to be good at anything. Bad grades are fine. It’s who I am. Getting into trouble all the time won’t phase them. It’s who I am. They may lose hope and a vision for what they can do in life. They are gradually captured by the false belief that they won’t ever amount to anything.

What conversations do you need to have with your children about their value? What traits do you notice and nurture? Do you need to change the way you relate to them? Children need to understand they’re important. If they don’t believe this, nothing much matters.

Extracted from Dr Kathy Koch – ‘A Bright Future’