Raising a world changer is no small feat. But it does have a huge impact. You can teach your child to be brave, face their fears, and overcome hard things.
As you guide your strong-willed child with your family’s compassionate values and a sensitivity toward our planet and all of its inhabitants, mindful parenting will be a major key.
Life is full of challenging situations. You don’t have to look far to notice injustices or errors in the way “things have always been done”. You can use these situations to help your child be the change they wish to see in the world. By intentionally equipping them with the tools to handle these hard things, you can encourage your budding world changer.
Here are five ways to raise kids who can do hard things, kids who are overcomers, kids who are world changers.
HELP YOUR CHILD FIND THEIR NATURAL GIFTS
As the parent of a world changer, you already know a lot about them, but it helps to have a vision. What are your child’s natural gifts? What are their interests?
Sit down with your child and ask them what they believe their gifts are. Find out how they want to use them to bring change into the world?
Once you’ve identified their gifts, talents, and interests, help them put those gifts into practice. If your son loves animals, think of ways this passion can make a difference. Depending on the age of your child, you can volunteer together at an animal shelter or dog-sit for a friend.
LET THEM EXPLORE… AND FAIL
Experience is the best teacher! When we create the space for our child to explore, learning and development takes place at any age. A child who explores their ideas, thoughts, and beliefs through action gains the freedom to engage with others on a deeper level.
Exploring helps us to discover who we are, what we like and what we don’t. Can you imagine creating an environment for your children where failure is embraced? Resiliency is a natural byproduct of learning what went wrong and how to correct it.
And encourage their bravery. As Glennon Doyle says in Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed, “Brave is not something you should wait to feel. Brave is a decision. It is a decision that compassion is more important than fear, than fitting in, than following the crowd.”
GIVE THEM OPPORTUNITIES TO CHANGE THE WORLD
There’s nothing more disheartening than caring about an issue and not being able to do anything to support or change it. If your child notices litter at the park, help them pick it up and recycle it or throw it away. If seeing a homeless person makes them feel sad, help your child select some supplies and take them to that person or to a local shelter.
“Every Sunday, our grandma made dinner for the whole family. She’d always have a plate ready for an elderly woman who lived alone down the street,” explains Green Child’s editor Amity Hook-Sopko. “My cousins and I would walk the food down, visit with her, and come back just in time for dinner. My grandma was always involving us in helping her crochet or make a quilt for a church raffle or making dresses for dolls she would give to charity. There was never a lecture or even a comment about how we were more fortunate than others. Giving was just part of who she was, and it rubbed off on us because she actively involved us in her efforts.”
BE CONSISTENT & FOLLOW THROUGH
Consistency is one of the keys to raising a child who follows through on his commitments. If you are wishy-washy or don’t follow through, they’ll follow your lead. Setting logical consequences and following the say-what-you-mean / mean-what-you-say philosophy will ensure your child always knows what to expect from you and helps them become intentional with their word.
BE YOUR CHILD’S CHEERLEADER
An overcomer can withstand a lot of challenges, but it’s always grounding to have someone in your corner. Your support means so much to your child. And your words hold power and long-lasting influence. Make the decision to support and encourage your child throughout the trials and tribulations of their efforts toward becoming a world changer.
Be careful with your words and actions. If your child trusts you, you’ll gain access to walking along their journey to changing the world!
Photo by Amanda Seals: Green Child Kinsley calls herself an “Earth Watcher,” and says it’s her job to make sure people aren’t doing, “mean things to my habitat.”