I like to make lists. I love crossing things off those lists. I’ve even been known to write down something I’ve already done just so I can cross it off. I like lists so much that several years ago my cousin told me my tombstone is going to have a to do list carved on it and the last item is going to say ‘die’ with a big checkmark next to it! For me, lists serve many purposes:
- Capturing my thoughts so I don’t forget anything
- Visualizing the priorities for a set timeframe
- Giving me a sense of accomplishment
See there, just one paragraph in and I already have a list.
So what does my addiction to making a list and crossing things off have to do with parenting with a purpose? Making a list of our hopes and dreams for our kids is the first step in defining our purpose and developing a plan.
So are you ready for it? Here’s your first assignment.
Don’t stifle yourself with thoughts of limited resources or fear. Just close your eyes and picture your child all grown up with a family of her own. What do you see? In your wildest dreams, what kind of man is your son? What qualities does your daughter possess? Are they married? Do they have children of their own? What kind of spouses are they? What kind of employee? Parent? Citizen?
Now write it down. The very act of writing stimulates the imagination and keeps the ideas flowing. Make a list… Draw a picture… write a poem… Write out a prayer… Whatever form of expression works for you.
Mind mapping is another way to dream on paper. Write your child’s name in the center of a piece of paper and draw a circle around it. Now draw lines out from the center like a spider web. At the end of each line write dreams for your child, circle each word you write down and spider web off of them (see example below). This is a great way to brainstorm and get the creative juices flowing. You might be surprised by some of the expectations for your child you uncover.
Take the time to visualize and dream for each one of your children. And hey, don’t worry if you don’t have kids yet. If it’s okay to dream about the future, why not dream about future people – the kids you haven’t had yet? And if you’ve already raised your kids and are now a grandparent, you can dream too. Grammas and grampas, aunties and uncles, mommy and daddy’s best friends, etc. are all important people in a child’s life who can also invest in them with purpose.
So, for now, take the time to dream about what kind of person you hope your child will be. In future posts, we’ll talk more about dreams – what kind of parent do you dream to be? What is God’s dream for our kids? What is His dream for us as parents?
In the meantime, I’d love to hear some of the dreams you have for your kids.