Updated: Dec 7, 2018
If preparing our kids for life by helping them become the best version of themselves is a journey, then we better make sure we have the right map to navigate it.
Imagine you traveled to Austin, Texas, but were using a map of Los Angeles, California to find your way around. How frustrating would that be to wander aimlessly on the streets of Austin using a map of Los Angeles to locate your destination?
You might try changing your behavior. To dedicate yourself to working harder and with greater diligence. But you would just get lost faster.
You might try changing your attitude. To become more optimistic and think positively. But you would still be lost. [You might just have a better attitude about it].
Only when you have the correct map of Austin does diligence and optimism become important…or even useful. Because neither of these virtues can overcome following the wrong map.
The "map" can be better understood as the Five Dimensions of Human Development: Spiritual, Emotional, Mental, Social, and Physical. Parents need to engage their children in each of these five dimensions in order to help them become prepared for life as a complete person.
Though all five have their own unique characteristics, God designed them to interconnect and overlap with each other. In other words, they are not compartmentalized "subjects" to be learned or experienced in isolation from one another.
However, before embarking upon this journey, we need to understand that it is a process (so that we give ourselves enough patience and grace to arrive at the desired destination).
IF we accept the idea that our children are made in the image of God, then each child has been uniquely created for a purpose. This means that although there are certain universal principles (there is a way that things work) that apply to ALL children, HOW our children learn those principles will be different. This is where patience and grace become like oxygen for parents.
Since this process requires experimentation (a LOT of it), parents need to be patient with themselves as they try new things to see what works for their child. And since no one in the world loves your child more than you do, YOU are the one who is most likely to help them succeed.
But parents also need to give themselves grace, because even the most well-intentioned experiments do not work 100% of the time. As you embrace the things that work and discard the things that don't, remember to cut yourself some slack. No one in the world is more committed than you are to helping your child become their best.
Since parents can only do the best they can with what they know...what if they knew different, better, or more? So, take a moment and imagine...
What it would feel like to help your child pursue their passions with relentless enthusiasm? To empower them to live a purpose-filled life?
I don't pretend to know everything [who does?], but I have been living and researching the answers to these questions for many years now and I founded PK4L to share the most important things I’ve learned so far.