Imagine a generation of children who grew up knowing that they were created for a grand purpose in life. That they have the power, knowledge, and capability within themselves to change this world.
My oldest son Ethan is currently in second grade, a pivotal time in emotional/social awareness development.
The grade school years are a time when children start to realize that there is a greater aspect of life beyond home, family, and school. They begin to internalize and process how we as a community, society, and world operate. Life is bigger and more complex then what it appears.
Intellectual growth is key for a child’s development, we must engage them in purposeful learning, but my ultimate goal as a mom is to help them grow and see the potential they carry within.
I personally thrive off inspiration, it is what fuels my heart, so I naturally want my children to feel the same.
Here are 5 simple ways that can help inspire your child.
1. Tell your child he/she was created with great purpose.
Every night after reading a story, I remind my son Ethan that he was created with a great purpose. His goal in life is to discover it.
There is no one like your child! He/she is a grand masterpiece. Ignite that spark that will cause them to wonder all the magnificent things they can one day accomplish and become.
2. Write them quotes and notes.
I pack Ethan’s lunch for school every morning with healthy items, but I also make sure to pack some food for his soul.
I usually include a quote of my own, a bible verse or a simple note that expresses my love.
Build them up so they become a light in this world!
I also have a monthly quote written above Ethan’s homework area. I specifically choose quotes from men and women who have shaped history.
Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Neslon Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Fred Rogers, Rosa Parks, Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, are just some to name a few.
3. Encourage acts of kindness.
I want my children to understand that when we do a simple act of kindness for others, we are exhibiting love and humility. To give without ever expecting anything in return is the mark of a good heart.
It can be as simple as writing a get well card to a sick friend or family member. Your child can also make “Thank You” cards for your local police department for protecting us everyday, or the city’s fire station. Firefighters place their lives on the line every time there is a fire and emergency. Your child can also make a thank you card for his/her teacher. Teachers guide and open minds.
I had Ethan make a thank you card for my OBGYN when I was pregnant with Joshua. Ethan thanked him for taking care of his baby brother and for bringing babies safely into this world.
I also encourage Ethan to open doors for the elderly, women, and moms who have small children when we are out running errands. His eyes are constantly observing for any person who needs this type of help.
I remind my boys to say thank you when we are at a restaurant and the waiter brings their drinks/food.
Regardless of how small of an act, it can have a heartfelt effect.
Simply offering our smile while saying hello, good morning, good afternoon, and good night, can bring someone’s heart a brief moment of happiness.
When the cashier or clerk at any given store finishes up my purchase, I always say “Thank you and have a wonderful day!”.
There are two little boys observing everything I do.
I must be the role model and example of who I want my children to resemble.
4. Paint them a bigger picture of this world.
The truth is that our children, mainly growing up in this privileged country, usually have everything they will ever need and beyond. From iPads, television, and video game consoles, it is easy to get wrapped up in a world of entitlement.
I believe it is crucial to bring awareness of the reality of our world. I am in no way advocating to frighten our children, or even make them feel guilty for the opportunities they have.
However, there are children who are starving, do not have homes, and are unable to attend school because they must work to put food on the table. Life for many is unimaginably difficult. What if you are able to spark compassion on a deeper level in your child?
In our family we have always talked about extreme poverty in other countries, largely when my husband travels to help through our church. Ethan is invariably curious and we explain how other children in those third world countries live. My husband shares pictures and stories of his trips with us.
I recently watched some age appropriate documentaries on NetFlix with Ethan that I felt would inspire him to see a bigger picture.
I highly recommend the following two:
Little Red Wagon
Living On One Dollar
5. Words Are Powerful
Words have the potential to influence immensely when used as a tool for positive affirmation.
- Praise your child for a good choice he/she made or for something helpful that was done.
- Tell your child how smart he/she is.
- What a beautiful heart and mind they have.
- How proud you are of him/her.
- That you saw how hard they tried and how important that was.
- Encourage them to tell you more about the things they are interested in.
- Remind them how much you trust them.
Foremost, ALWAYS SAY I LOVE YOU! Say it multiple times throughout the day. A child needs to feel and hear that he/she is loved endlessly.