Last week’s blog was “How to Play with a Two Year Old.” Apparently, this was not an issue for many parents; the problem was more, “How do I get my teen off the couch?”
Since we would prefer that they roll themselves off the couch (they get a bit heavy) we need them to want to get up on their large stinky feet to do something interesting.
Inspiration seems to be the key.
So how do we arrange for our children to become inspired? Industry prospers when industrious people are inspired, so the how to’s of inspiration have been studied extensively in that field. I plundered their studies shamelessly to suit my needs and come up with ten things that will encourage your teen toward couchless, inspired labor. To create an environment that encourages inspiration:
- First, kids need to know that they are loved and accepted exactly as they are. This absolute security will give them the self confidence they need to take a chance–live their own lives, follow their own interests and talents–and not be self defeating.
- Our kids need health to reach their potential. This means giving them a diet of healthy whole foods, daily exercise, and enough sleep. (You knew I’d sneak that one in somewhere, didn’t you?)
- They need to by focused on the positive. The most effective way to do this is by remembering their strengths. If they feel defeated, remind them of past successes. The flip side of this is learning to accept change and loss as a part of life, not the unending measure of their failures.
- They need to believe in the possibility of success; optimism is key to inspiration. Teach them to see the best in people rather than looking for the worst. Show them the seemingly impossible things other people have accomplished. Talk about the people they admire. Success can happen.
- They need practice finding solutions, so work through problems with them rather than simply telling them what to do. Give them experience working toward a goal while you are still around to steer them a bit.
- Help them learn the value of courage so that they will push through fear to try new things, to do something different, to explore, and to think in a way only their own unique brain can think.
- Allow time for relaxation; take moments to breathe; allow laziness. Brains are most creative when they are relaxed. Slower brainwaves lead to new connections; plasticity leads to creativity.
- Nudge appreciation of other people, opportunities, life, and beauty. Teach them to be observant. They might write in a journal, draw, make music, dance, hike outdoors, read, meditate–anything that exercises their mind.
- Stir them to interact with and help others. Teach something. It is hard to come up with new ideas in a vacuum. Allow feedback and interaction, listen to other people’s ideas. Write things down.
- Encourage work. An inspired person is immersed in what he or she is doing, like a dog with a bone. Time passes unnoticed as they persist past an idea into exhaustion, and satisfaction.
Francis of Assisi said, “Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible… suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
Inspiration creates love, joy, and purpose–which creates inspiration–which creates love, joy, and purpose… Inspiration is a moment of understanding the magic in our world. Inspired people thrive, have balance, and invite humor and joy into their lives. What more could we want for our children?