As we hit our stride in this school year, now is the time to take the step back and focus on a bigger picture for our kids and families. As I've said before, we need to make sure kids learn about what success really means and that we start teaching them the pathway to greatness at the earliest of ages. I spent years as an education administrator getting children excited about learning and envisioning what their future could be. When I made my own transition into a businessman, author and public speaker, I used those same tools and skills, but used them to get adults excited about their professional and financial success. I realized then that there is a great divide between the success of children and adults for absolutely no reason. The reality is we need a life-long focus on greatness and we need to begin the search for success at the earliest of ages. We must embrace the notion that your origin does not equal your destination and if we want a successful America tomorrow, we need to empower kids today with positive messages about their potential. That's why I wrote my newest book: to help families create the pathway to positivity and success. I want to share with you here some ways you can help model greatness in your family:
- Talk about greatness in all of its forms. Success isn't just money and fancy things, it means happiness and fulfillment. How can you as a family think together about how to turn the things our children enjoy into skills for the future? By showing our children that achievement in all forms can bring happiness, we create well-rounded adults. Greatness in the classroom, on the playing field, with musical instruments and art supplies can all translate into success later in life. The name of the game is showing that mastery and achievement are the ways forward, because everyone has different skills and abilities and because there isn't one single path to success, everyone can get there. Success does not happen overnight, but it happens over time.
- Dream big and dream frequently. Some say that aspirations will help keep students on track and keep them motivated. We need to keep our families focus on where we want to be in the future and what we want that future to look like. If we think about where we want to be, we can make clear roadmaps on how to get there. We have to ask our children about their dreams, get them to articulate them, and regularly get them to think about how their choices are helping them get there. It's never too early to start talking about what sort of people we want our children to become.
- Focus, focus, focus. If the dreams are to truly come true, hard work has to be put in to make them a reality. When we check in with our children about their dreams, we have to also make sure that they're keeping their eyes on all the prizes that greatness will bring them. We also have to remind children that there will be obstacles along the way -- people who will tell us it can't be done, challenges that will emerge in our lives, all sorts of hurdles that will eventually only make us greater. We can always share our own experiences of our own challenges with children so they understand that they can in fact keep moving forward. We have an opportunity to turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones and obstacles into opportunity when we approach our future with a sense of purpose.
The bottom line is that if the mind can conceive it and the heart can believe it, then the hands can achieve it. While there are no cookie-cutter approaches to ensure our children's future success, there are lessons, ways of thinking and ways of being that we can introduce to children. It's never too early to start. We need to have conversations from the earliest ages about the big pictures of life: about what great means, what great people are, and what makes them that way. By being open and transparent, we can bring out the greatness inside of all of us, for a better family, better community, a better world. Pursue greatness! #TGOTI