A common resolution this time of year among parents is to spend more meaningful time with their children. One way to fulfill that resolution is to make time to teach them about achieving goals and having a vision. This activity is great for the whole family, from young children on up to the adults. It’s a skill set that will last their lifetime and set them on a road that leads to a happy, healthy and fulfilled life.
The family activity is making a Vision Board. This is a tool, a collection of visual cues that creates neuro pathways in the brain. When you can visualize the goals, you are increasing your belief that it can happen. Your brain starts to notice those things associated with your goal and you start to be moved toward those things.
Have you ever bought a new car, say a red convertible and then started noticing how many red convertibles there are on the roads? Well this is part of the brain working the way it works. On a daily basis, it screens out what isn’t necessary and pays attention to what is relevant. Making sure the brain remembers what is relevant TO YOU is something that takes effort and planning.
By putting those subjects on your vision board, you help your brain keep your priorities and direction and reduce the chance of getting sidetracked by distractions, crises and other people’s priorities. Most of the time it’s the clutter of busy lives that keeps us off track. So a vision board maintains our focus and moves us toward our goals.
We can train our children from a very young age to set and achieve goals through visioning and the use of a vision board. Learning this skill set early will help them tremendously in high school, college and beyond — and hopefully spare them the regret that comes when 10, 20 or 30 years pass by and their life isn’t anything they wanted it to be.
First, have an open and exploratory conversation with your child. Ask questions like, “What kind of person do you want to be as a family member, or a student or a friend?” “Do you want to be a good student?” “Do you want to be kind and loving?” “Do you want to achieve at music, sports or art?” Be sure to guide the conversation, but make sure the goals are truly the child’s and not yours. If you child’s vision board says, “I will obey my parents, eat my vegetables and never fight with my siblings,” we’ll all pretty much know who set those goals!
Avoid letting the child choose only material possessions, like wanting a new bike, expensive clothes or a big screen TV for their room. Vision, even for a child, needs to encompass multiple aspects of life. But that doesn’t mean you should limit them to things that are practical. Make it safe for them for dream big and think out of the box.
OK. Onto the board. Use a corkboard, posterboard or foam core. Determine what kind of visuals will best represent the goals and vision. Look for pictures on the Internet, in magazines or in family picture collections. Make drawings, use phrases or attach mementos with meaning.
Hang the board in the child’s room and refer to it often. Be strategic and use their goals to help teach them lessons. For example if a child wants to make the basketball team or play a solo in the band, then practice is important. When a child whines about practice time, you can use their vision board to reiterate priorities and remind them of where they want to go.
Visions and goals can change, so update the board, too. Keep the conversation going year to year and be an active part of helping a child plan for his or her future. Be an encourager, but also be the trusted advisor. Do what you can to seek resources and advice when needed. And always, always remember that it only takes a few harsh words to a child to crush a dream.
A tremendous resource for parents is a set of E-books and CDs from Adventures in Wisdom. Right now they are offering parents a free E-book about teaching kids about vision. Download the Vision skill book for free at this link: http://adventuresinwisdom.com/sign-up-vision-board.
In addition to the vision lesson, there are 26 other powerful personal development skills taught through fun short stories and activities. The lessons only take 15-30 minutes and an accompanying audio program is perfect for cartime with kids – listen to a story on the way to practice…discuss it on the way home!
With all the complications of today’s modern world, equip your children with life skills to handle whatever will come their way.