Encouraging Your Daughter to Dream
- Tuesday, November 05, 2013
For some children, it's obvious what their calling is. They come out of the womb, it seems, with big plans of what they want to accomplish with their lives. For most, however, it can be a mystery - a secret worth pulling out of them.
That's where you and I, as parents come in. You may have one child who's a dreamer - it's part of her personality - she knows exactly what she wants to do with her life. Yet, the other may take a while to develop creative abilities or academic interests. But by watching and praying for wisdom to help cultivate that dream God has placed on their hearts, we can be there to be the wind beneath their wings when it's time for them to fly.
In my book, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, I outline six steps to encourage your daughter to discover and pursue her dream (and I believe these steps can apply to our sons, as well):
1. Let Her Explore
Kelly grew up with a critical mother who didn't lavish much praise on her. But she does remember one thing her mother did very well:
"She always allowed me to explore, try, and learn. I devoured books, movies, classes, and school stuff. I asked questions and got answers. I was able to go places and do things to learn more about everything around me, to challenge me, and to let me grow. Eventually I became comfortable in my own skin because I had a childhood to explore who God designed me to be."
Help her explore new areas. One of them might be the area in which she truly shines.
2. Look and Listen for What Makes Her Heart Sing
Sometimes we don't see a dream on our child's horizon because that dream is still developing. Or, as it was developing, we weren't necessarily looking for it.
Sara says she wishes she had noticed her daughter's dream when Lauren, now 23, was a little girl. "It took me too long to recognize Lauren's strong gravitation toward the arts. I am not artistically gifted but she is! She writes music and poetry, sings, plays musical instruments, loves photography and her painting aptitude is amazing! I wish I had seen this in her when she was little."
Jean, who has five daughters ages 2-11 is aware of how easily each of them could slip through the cracks when it comes to encouraging them in the area of their dreams.
Jean says: "I spend a lot of time with them and try to be a student of all of my daughters -- understanding who they are, who they are becoming, and what they want to become. By doing that I get an idea of what God's purpose may be in their lives so I can help steer them in His direction."
What is your daughter saying now about what she is interested in? What is she saying she no longer wants to do? That can give you an idea of where her dream may or may not lie.
3. Let Her Take a Break - or Change her Mind
Sometimes our children try something but find it's not what they had hoped or wanted, after all. Yes, we need to teach our children commitment and how to stick with something, but after the commitment (and hopefully she never signs up for more than a one-year commitment at a time), let her reevaluate. Sometimes she was simply gaining skills for the next step, which is something different. And sometimes she just needs time off to get her heart back for it (as was the case with my daughter, Dana, when it came to giving up piano lessons. She returned to it five years later with an amazing ability and passion for it that I never saw in her earlier!).
Cheri Gregory says this about being made to continue with her piano lessons when her dream was elsewhere.
"I wish my mom could have understood how important horseback riding was to me and let me keep up with my lessons, instead of making me stop riding, but continue piano. I took 15 years of piano lessons from top instructors and quit, never to play again, after I went to college. It was such a waste, and I was terrible -- just terrible -- in performance. On the other hand, my riding instructor said I showed exceptional promise, and I've always wondered what my life might have been like if I could have kept doing the one thing I wanted to do. "
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