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She’s Got High Hopes –A Kid’s Perspective

As parents, you may often ask yourself, “What else can I do for my children?” It’s an ongoing quest, in which parents want to invest wisely in their children’s future and give them the edge in an increasingly competitive world. Is the answer to home school them, get them a tutor, or send them to another afterschool program to supplement their schooling? While these things may be beneficial, I’m not sure they’re practical or affordable for most families today. There’s a much more important lesson to teach your kids that shouldn’t put any dent in your budget or make unrealistic scheduling demands on a family unit in which both parents may work.

The only thing I know for sure is that you definitely won’t get there if you don’t believe you can.

Let me explain why this came up: My friend Lupe and I were walking home from school the other day through a somewhat affluent neighborhood called Beverlywood, in Los Angeles. As we passed the nice homes, sporting expensive cars in the driveways, she turned to me and said, “I’ll never have a house like that.” I shook my head and asked, “Why would you say that?” She smiled and responded, “Huh, those homes are only for the rich people. They probably cost over a million dollars.” I thought to myself, “How sad.”  But for some reason I didn’t think like that. I patted her on the back and replied, “You never know what’s in your future. The only thing I know for sure is that you definitely won’t get there if you don’t believe you can.”

This got me thinking. Why did Lupe have such limits on what she believed she could achieve? On the other hand, maybe I was living in a fantasy world thinking that I could achieve anything?  Then it hit me. I thought about a story I heard of someone with a fake leg, (“prosthetic is the word” I think), who was competing in a marathon. Bottom line was that he found any way possible to achieve his goal and finish the race.  If he didn’t believe he could compete or finish, he may not have even tried. Generally, human-nature may lean toward finding excuses by succumbing to every obstacle they believe they could not overcome. This would render them doomed from the get go.

So, if you ask me, “What else can I do for my children?  My simple answer is give them hope and encouragement to allow them to believe that they can achieve anything.  Sure, you should be realistic about making them aware of potential obstacles, and that it will take hard work.  However, it’s how they deal with those obstacles, obtaining whatever tools they need to achieve their goals. Ideally, the best way to teach this is to live it yourself. If you want it bad enough, you’ll model addressing obstacles in your everyday life. If there was no distance, hills, or weather conditions as a factor in a marathon, then there would nothing to distinguish one runner from the next. Only those that really want it, believe they can do it, and are willing to put forth the effort, get to finish.

Finally, for those of you who are thinking, “What if I really believe that I can do it, and put forth the effort, but I just can’t get there?’ I tell you to step back and use your experience as a navigation run. By that I mean any great competitor likes to go over a course before the actual race. This gives them an edge in future competition by knowing how to take a turn, how to reserve energy for a hill, and pacing themselves by knowing what to expect. Every experience you have trying to achieve your goals is a great scouting tool. It can only make your next effort that much easier. If you learn from it, and don’t give up, you’ll get there.

Edited By: Mr. PlayDate

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