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Five Ways to Encourage Big Dreams

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. Dreams are like roadmaps. Like plans that will lead us where we wish to go, change we desire to see and shape whom we become. As parents, we can help our children contemplate their dreams, what they wish for in life and what they care for most. Naturally, these dreams will be modified in time. What your five-year-old dreams of today might be different when she is eight. But providing our children with an environment where they can flourish and dream – and dream big – will increase their chances of dreaming big when it really counts.

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Little Dreamers

Dreams are like roadmaps. Like plans that will lead us where we wish to go, change we desire to see and shape whom we become. As parents, we can help our children contemplate their dreams, what they wish for in life and what they care for most. Naturally, these dreams will be modified in time. What your five-year-old dreams of today might be different when she is eight. But providing our children with an environment where they can flourish and dream – and dream big – will increase their chances of dreaming big when it really counts.   Here are five tips to providing environments that encourage big dreaming:

  1. Read. Reading to your children opens up a whole different world that creates awareness, imagination and insight into the lives of others. A recent study found that reading has an impact on a child’s belief that they can make a difference and their future giving habits.
  2. Discussion. Maybe your six-year-old dreams of being Harry Potter – but why? What is the motivation behind that wish? Help them get to the root of their dreams by asking questions and leading your children down the path of understanding their underlying feelings and desires. Help them discover what they care about.
  3. Encouragement. No matter how absurd, never judge their dreams and encourage your children to use phrases like “I can”, “I am”, “I will” and never say “I can’t. Chances are Dr. King’s parents didn’t laugh at his ideas, but encouraged his dreams.
  4. Participation. Pay attention and provide opportunities to help your children play out their dreams. Perhaps you have a budding artist or maybe your child has expressed interest in helping homeless children. Whatever it is, help them learn more by finding opportunities to get involved in activities of interest.
  5. Be the example. In many ways, we are the keys to our children’s futures. Research shows that parents have influence. Show them your dreams and how you’re living them out. Talk with them about people they know or others in your community that are following their dreams or making a big difference in the lives of others.