As parents, we have high aspirations for our children. We hope that they will grow up well, be successful in life and raise a wonderful family of their own one day.
But what are our thoughts about success? How can we coach our children to pursue their dreams and become successful in life? Is success in Singapore only achievable if our children do well academically?
Success: The Bigger Picture
It is important that we learn to recognise that there is more than one pathway to success. Every child is unique, with a special make-up of strengths and passions. Forcing our children to fit a certain mould or comparing our children’s exam results with others won’t be helpful.
While we naturally desire our children to excel academically, we should also nurture fundamental qualities and character traits that will help them be successful, whichever path they choose.
Are we taking time to discover what really makes our children excited, while embracing and developing their strengths and interests? Here are three things we can do to help them chase their dreams.
Observe your children
While observing your children at play, you may discover some hidden talents that you were not aware of. For example, do your children enjoy creating new structures and coming up with exciting ideas? Do they take the lead when playing in a group? Are they good at trying to keep the peace when a disagreement happens between two other playmates?
There are many personality traits or budding talents you may discover through your observations. These will help you guide your children in the development of their strengths.
Engage your children
Sometimes, discovering your children’s dreams and aspirations is as simple as talking to them and finding out more. Beyond the standard question of “What do you want to do when you grow up?”, try asking them “What would you like to do to make the world a better place?”
You can challenge their thinking and perspective by having discussions about what they observe around them, like how meaningful it is to teach or look after the elderly, or how exciting it is to one day set up their own business.
If they are old enough, you can also talk to them about current affairs or things in the news that tug at their heartstrings. Walk them through planning and setting meaningful goals towards achieving their dreams. Also, share with them the values you would like to see develop in them like resilience, compassion and courage.
Encourage your children
Finding out your children’s dreams isn’t the tough part; sometimes the more difficult thing to do is supporting them in pursuing their interests, especially when they seem unrealistic. For example, if your child wants to be an astronaut in the future, don’t be too quick to diminish that dream and say that will never happen. Instead, take him to the planetarium to look at the stars and dream with him.
Our children may be small, but they can have big dreams. Rather than getting stressed up about our children’s academic results, why don’t we take time to explore and nurture their strengths and passions? When we embrace a broader definition of success, we will be better prepared to equip them to chase their dreams, whatever those dreams may be.
Written by Sarah Chua
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