Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Do You Know Where You Are Going To?

Tweet This Post
Recently a song has been playing repeatedly in my head.

It starts: “Do you know where you are going to?”

It continues with lyrics that ask listeners if they are pleased with “what life is showing” them.

This song reminds me how important it is to have a reason to get out of bed every morning. Not only adults need a reason.

Tweens and teens need one, too.

The other night I caught another episode of World’s Strictest Parents. The host parent wanted to know what the eighteen-year-old had in mind for his future. The young man didn’t have a clue.

He said: “In school, I just skated by. In the classes I liked, I did well. In the classes I didn’t like, I didn’t.” The mother for the week told him, “That’s life. Sometimes you have to do things that aren’t fun.”

It reminded me of the time my daughter asked me how I could be having a good time doing laundry.

Most of the teens, if not all of them, who are featured on this show don’t seem to be involved in organized sports or activities.

If you happen to have a child who is just not that in to sports or group-related activities, you have a little more work cut out for you. Don’t fret over this. Simply understand that you might have a bigger challenge to fill in that gap and help them learn the valuable lessons organized sports and activities have to offer. There are other ways to do that.

I remember years ago watching a Dr. Phil show that provided an answer. Dr. Phil was helping troubled teens. His answer: Help children find a deeper purpose for their lives—you know, meaning.

This is easier said than done in some cases, but typically children do have ideas of what they like and dislike. Maybe they love photography or art. Maybe they are the family musician. It’s just a matter of helping that child discover what that might be.

Maybe your child has always wanted to learn a new language. My daughter told me about three years ago that she wanted to learn Japanese.

“Really,” I said, not understanding why in the world she would want to do that.

Several people advised me that I should insist she learn Chinese instead because knowing Chinese would benefit her more when she grew up. I didn’t follow this guidance because I knew my daughter’s interest wasn’t about what would help her land the best future job. It was about an interest in learning the Japanese language, which she is still pursuing today. Of course, I just might have to give Pokemon and Digimon all the credit!

We also volunteer at the local Humane Society. There are many, many opportunities that provide a means to discover interests, passions and skills, which serve to give children ideas about their future—what excites them, bores them and inspires them.

To help your children find a home—a place where their skills, talents and interests can be tapped into—is the goal. Not all children fit the same mold. And you might not always like the hobby or interest being pursued. Let your child try different things. Having a goal—to learn Japanese—might seem crazy to you and maybe your child will start and decide it’s not really an interest. It’s in the pursuit that your child will find answers.

Bottom line: All children need something bigger than themselves. Whether that be a sports team, an orchestra performance or walking homeless dogs, all children need a reason to be.

Allyn Evans
Email me!