Creating Forward MomentumShare
When children are at a crossroads—like a new year, a birthday, or a graduation—we (and they) often mark the occasion with celebratory fanfare. But what else is important for forward momentum?
Times like new years, holidays, and victories, are some of the memorable junctures of our lives—energized by excitement, fortified by relationships, and buoyed by hope for what might lie ahead. We typically anticipate fresh starts, and often do so with exuberance, and noise.
However, sometimes it’s helpful to take some quiet, contemplative moments, too.
It is important for parents to encourage children to appreciate and maintain a balance between boisterous environments and experiences, and ones that foster the kind of thoughtful reflection that enables kids to process, consolidate, and extend their knowledge. Reflection is important for adults as well.
So, as we reflect on the recent past we can (and should) discern what we did well on behalf of our children, and what we can do better in the months ahead. Here are some suggestions:
1. Identify concerns. Prioritize, and carefully work out how to address issues or matters of inquiry or concern. Take the time needed to determine what steps to take.
2. Plan. Make an effort to carve out more quality time with family members and friends. Listen, talk, laugh, explore, co-create, read, and play together. And, don’t underestimate the powers of flexibility and spontaneity, too.
3. Create opportunities. So many different factors and influences contribute to children’s development! With that in mind, share stories, build dreams, encourage positive mindsets, model volunteerism, and lovingly guide children toward fulfillment and well-being.
4. Acknowledge others. Forge and sustain meaningful connections. This includes new ones, as well as solidifying connectivity with people who have shared family, community, and school-based journeys, and who have supported various achievements along the way.
5. Give thanks. Appreciate all that we have, all we can do, and all that our children can do. Continue to foster their developing capabilities, intelligences, sensitivities, and value systems. In the whole scheme of things, these are what really matter.
In contrast with the conventional approach to New Year’s Eve, birthdays, and other turning points, we don’t necessarily have to look to the future by means of blasting horns. Yes, there are certainly times when strong and forceful action is required; and a festive milieu or invigorating experience can provide joy and welcome incentive. Most often, though, a thoughtful, measured approach works best as we strive to move ahead. By embracing and modeling hard work, persistence, creativity, and collaborative effort, we help children learn a different kind of forward momentum—a calm, purposeful strength that will intensify their resolve and fuel their progress, step by step, day by day. Encourage them to ask questions, to build their knowledge bases, to discover their interests, goals, and values, and to slowly and surely find ways to incorporate these capacities into their daily lives.
May the months ahead be filled with happiness, productivity, reflection, and harmony. And, may the noise we experience not be discordant. Rather, let it reflect optimism, gratitude, joy, fortitude, virtues, and the celebratory spirit of accomplishment.
For more information on ways to support and encourage children’s development and well-being, go to www.joannefoster.ca. Also, see Beyond Intelligence: Secrets for Raising Happily Productive Kids by Dona Matthews and Joanne Foster. They also wrote Being Smart about Gifted Education. Joanne Foster is the sole author af Not Now, Maybe Later: Helping Children Overcome Procrastination, as well as Bust Your BUTS: Tips for Teens Who Procrastinate. (Great Potential Press)
(Note: This article is a newly updated version of an earlier one that appears on page three of Joanne Foster’s blog on the Beyond Intelligence website.)