I looked at my baby girl and had not a clue of how to help her get from where she was, one day old, to where she was going, eighteen years old, and beyond. I thought about all that would happen from one day to eighteen years old, and it was positively scary. I didn’t know what to say to her, but I knew I was supposed to say something.
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So I started to tell her the story of her future. I told her about kindergarten, elementary school, high school through her Ph.D. program, marriage, and children. I was upbeat and happy whenever I talked to her about her future. The more I told her about her future; something was transforming within myself.
My anxiety for her future decreased significantly.
By the age of five, she was telling me what she was going to do. To my surprise, she was planning the same things for her future. Her future became what we (she and I) planned. In the order that we said it was going to happen.
All too often, our teens grow up, and what they become is a lucky, or unlucky draw of the straw. We often feel that we have little input or influence in their futures. That’s not true. Our children become who they become, despite us, or because of us. While it isn’t a guaranteed outcome, giving our children a life script increases their chances of being successful.
Consider what God counsels us to do to teach children His laws: ‘Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.’ Deut. 19:11 NKIV God is teaching us a simple principle; repetition is powerful.
We may not realize it, but we are repetitive. We may not adhere to a strict schedule, but pretty much, we are creatures of habit. What happens in our children’s futures will be a draw of the straw If we don’t pay attention to what we are communicating about their futures. Rather we realize it or not, every day we are giving our children a life script. If the life script isn’t intentional, more than likely, we are giving them a negative life script.
So if we follow the counsel of One who cannot fail, we can’t go wrong. If we teach our teens every day, what to expect in life, this will make our lives and their lives easier.
A positive life script will go something like this.
“What are your plans after high school? Let’s say the teens state they want to be a doctor. “That’s interesting. After high school, you will go to college. It will be fun. Then you will go to medical school. Which school have you picked out..” Have short discussions with your teen. The more often you have these talks, and the more details you discuss, the more achievable the vision becomes.
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That conversation is very different from the discussions that most parents have with their teens. Teens may say, “I want to be a doctor.” Too many parents, and adults in general, will say, “Oh you will have too many years of school. It will be too hard. It’s hard to get into medical school. You can’t make all of those C’s that you get in school now. You have to
be a straight-A student to get into medical school. You aren’t a good reader, and you probably will have to read a whole lot in medical school. Do you like science? Because you know if you’re not good at science, you may as well not try to be a doctor.”
Unfortunately, if the teen dare repeats his high and lofty goal, this conversation will go on and on day after day until the teen finally stops saying, “I want to be a doctor.”
I hate to say it; most of us talk teens out of greatness before they complete kindergarten. We parents, and adults in general, can be persistent about what teens can’t do, and won’t do. We applaud ourselves when they don’t become the doctor they once wanted to become. We pat ourselves on the back and give ourselves credit for having the “gift” of discernment. What we did was let repetition work against us by consistently giving our teens a negative life script.
Instead of letting repetition work against us, why not put it to work for us by giving teens a positive life script? We don’t mean to discourage teens. But little messages given regularly will either inspire teens to do their best, to reach high and lofty goals or demotivate, intimidate and scare them away from their high and lofty goals. So again, rather than mindlessly allowing repetition to work against us, why not harness the power of repetition to work for us?
Maybe it is true that teens don’t read well. That means we have to provide FUN ways to encourage reading and put more reading in their life (the power of repetition at work again). If they aren’t doing well in science, we help strengthen that skill by providing FUN scientific experiences for them (repetition). In other words, don’t allow teens’ academic weakness determine the height of their lifetime achievement. Provide experiences that strengthen the areas of weakness. Harness the power of repetition for their success!
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It’s not too late for teens.
Start talking to them about their futures. Time isn’t on your side, so the sooner you start, the more effective your efforts
Encourage them to explore their interests and research what type of career in that area interest them.
Discuss the variety of training programs available. Help them research the t the type of programs that are available to them.
Go with them to visit to the different schools.
Go beyond college. Talk to them about what type of family they want to have after they complete their training.
Share their Dream. Celebrate the little successes. If they improve in any area, celebrate the milestone. Smile when you talk to them. Enjoy the little achieveents with them.
Make their Goals specific. The more specific their goals the more likely they will achieve their goals.
By now, you recognize the essential role repetition has on our teens’ lives. To harness the power of repetition, start as soon as possible, and it is never too late. Consistently talk to your teen about the future. Provide non-threatening experiences to strengthen academic weaknesses they have. Always be positive! Avoid being rigid and controlling.
If we follow the counsel of God, we can’t go wrong. We are not able to fully explain this concept in this short blog. Soon “The Power of Repetition” will be available in booklet form from this website.
Are you already using the power of repetition for your teen’s future? Start today by giving your teen a life script. Periodically check back in and let me know how it’s working for you and your teen!
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