When it comes to making a positive impact in a kid’s life, there’s nothing more effective than what you model and demonstrate. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done!
You’ve heard the phrase a thousand times before, “It’s not what’s taught — it’s what’s caught that counts.” Kids watch and learn from adults, for better and for worse. In fact, if you’re going to error on one side, the evidence points towards emphasizing the example you give rather than the words and concepts you teach.
Here are 3 specific ways you can model a hope-filled life for the kids in your world:
1. Share Your Hope:
Make sure you’re sharing about what you’re striving towards. Most of the time, kids aren’t going to care to ask you about your personal ambitions and goals. No surprise there — kids are more used to receiving than engaging. They also probably don’t care about you because they’re more focused on their own lives.
That’s why it’s important for you to take the initiative to share with them the goals you’re working towards. Don’t assume they know. Trust that it matters. If you’re working on an academic goal, maybe a graduate degree or a professional certificate — tell them about it and the work you’re doing to achieve it.
If you’re working on a personal goal, perhaps around your desire to give back to the community or a character trait— let them know what you’re working on and what you’re doing.
2. Divulge Your Setbacks:
One of the most important examples you can offer is how you respond to setbacks and challenges. If you’re truly filled with hope, and you’ve anticipated multiple setbacks and routes to achieve your goals, then you should have no problem talking about them when they arise. When kids can see adults push through setbacks with creativity and resolve, then they’ll be more encouraged to face their own challenges in similar ways.
3. Celebrate Progress:
Having a hope-filled life isn’t just about crossing the finish line of your goals and ambitions, it’s about recognizing the importance of all the little steps along the way. If you have a goal to publish a book someday, then celebrate writing a paragraph. Each paragraph is progress and a sign that you have what it takes to keep going.
Let the kids in your life know what you’re feeling proud of and grateful for. They will see behind the scenes what accomplishing a goal really looks like, and your enthusiasm to keep after it will be contagious.
By opening your life and sharing what you’re going through, you’ll make it normal for kids to see engaged, healthy adults who are moving forward on dreams and ambitions rather than accepting whatever life hands them.
Your life will be an encouragement to do the same; to pursue worthy goals, make progress each day, confront setbacks with tenacity, and celebrate the milestones to get there.