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 old 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.
So I started to tell her what her life would be like. I told her about kindergarten, elementary school, high school...all the way through her PhD 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 I was planning for her. She did exactly what we (she and I) were saying she would do, in the order that we said it was going to happen.
All too often our children 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. This is not true. Our children become who they become, in spite of 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 very true, but 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 to them about their futures. Rather we realize it or not, 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 children everyday, what to expect in life, this will make our lives and their lives much easier.
A positive life script, will go something like this. Mother asks, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Lets say the child states that they want to be a doctor. So you will carry the conversation on in this manner. "That will be really a very fun thing to do. You will finish grade school, and then you will, go to high school. You will probably be the valedictorian. Then you will go to college. College will be so fun. Then you will go to medical school, and you will learn so much." But don't stop there. Go on to tell them, "Then you will get married, and have children. How many children do you want?"
That conversation is very different from the conversations that most parents have with their children. The child may say, "I want to be a doctor." Most parents, and adults in general, will say to the child, "Oh you will have soooo many years of school. It will be soooo 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 really 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 child dare repeats his high and lofty goal, this conversation will go on and on day after day, until the child finally stops saying "I want to be a doctor."
I hate to say it, most of us talk our children out of greatness before they complete kindergarten. We parents, and adults in general, can be very persistent about what children 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 actually did, was let repetition work against us by consistently giving our children a negative life script.
Instead of letting repetition work against us, why not put it to work for us by giving our children a positive life script? We don't mean to discourage our children. But little messages given on a regular basis will either inspire children 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 our child doesn'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 your young child's academic weakness determine the height of his lifetime achievement. Provide experiences that will strengthen the areas of weakness. Harness the power of repetition for their success!
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. Here are a few tweaks to communicating with them and inspiring them into a successful future.
!. You can't tell them what they will be. Encourage them to explore their interests and research what type of career in that area would interst them.
2. Discuss the variety of training programs available.
3. Visit different schools with them.
4. Go beyond college, talk to them about what type of family they want to have after they complete their training.
5. Share their dreams, the more specific they are about their dreams the more likely they will acheive their success.
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By now, you're recognizing the very important role repetition has on our children's lives. To harness the power of repetition we must start as soon as possible, and it is never too late. Consistently talk to your child about their future. Provide non-threatening experiences to strengthen academic weaknesses they may 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 child's future? Start today by giving your child a life script and periodically check back in and let me know how it's working for you and your child!