Getting Our Kids to Look to the Future
Parent Question: How can we get our kids to see the long view, to understand how to look past the current temptations and distractions so they can get to the future in one piece?
The key players in a family who need to take the long view are the parents.
I’m not sure we can get our kids to see the long view, especially teenagers, because it’s the day-to-day, here-and-now that most teens are focused on. Sure, there are some teens who don’t fit into this statement and are thinking about studying so they have college choices, or focusing on something they know will be an important part of their future. But for the most part, teenagers are going to get distracted from time to time and give into temptations at times.
Taking the long view as parents is very important, as it helps us focus on the unique potential of our child and take our job as parents like a job instead of taking the ups and downs in the road personally.
Parenting can be one of the greatest explorations of self
the universe provides for us as long as we do not get confused
and believe the focus of this process is our children.
If you’ve been to one of our workshops, you’ve heard me tell the story of when my child was in the 8th grade, and the mother of a classmate came up and asked me, “So, how’s the mother of the worst kid in the 8th grade?” I was so taken aback that I didn’t have a response; in fact I probably smiled and made nice with her. Looking back, a good response might have been, “We’re grateful for the challenges we’re having now, because we know this child will be stronger because of them.” That would have been a surprise to this mom! (It would have been a surprise to me, too, because at the time I was taking every bump in the road with my kids personally!)
So when you ask, “How can I get my kid to look past the current temptations and distractions”… other than wrapping them in cotton wool, I’m not sure you can. But you can teach them to make decisions based on your family’s principles and from a place of conscience. Their conscience might not always be able to resist the temptation, but that’s where “Value Success and Failure” and “Allow Obstacles to Become Opportunities” will help us. We must use these parenting priorities when we’re up against the tough stuff with our kids.
By the way, you’re not looking for the perfect child, are you? Hang in there, and thanks for this great question.