Teaching Your Kids to Do Big Things
Everything that your children do that they haven’t done before is potentially a BIG thing. Uncharted territory. New. A big deal.
Swimming. Riding a bike. Jumping off a high dive. These are big things.
We ought to teach and lead our kids to attempt Big things. Watching my 4 year old daughter jump from the 5 meter platform for the first time was exhilarating for me…and for her. We got her ready together. And, when she jumped, she was that much closer to realizing she can do whatever she puts her mind to.
The latest Big thing for us are bikes. We’re all mobile. The week Blake turned 4, we took off his training wheels. He’s rocking his bike. Now, we do biking adventures on Saturdays. Riding my cyclocross bike with my 8-year old daughter on the mountain bike trails on Virginia Key was killer for me!
Every step. Every big step is another arrow in my kids’ arsenals. My job is to stock their arsenal so they are prepared to take life by the horns. So, here are some things I do to help my kids do BIG things:
1. Never tell myself they are going to like something new they’re going to try. Default to the positive. Expect them always to want to try the new challenge. That means holstering your own biases so you don’t negatively influence them or pass on your own fears to them.
2. Expect them to pull it off. If you set your expectations low, they sink to meet them.
3. When they fail, acknowledge their stumbling. But, get them back in the saddle quickly.
4. Make the adventure an adventure. If you’re about to do something BIG, pump it up. Hype it up. Get everyone ready to celebrate. And, have a blast. The mundane is rarely worth conquering.
5. Don’t sell them short. Your kids can do more, go farther, perform better, and rise to the occasion with a greater capacity than you’re able to understand.
6. Don’t manage the detail. Show them the way. Let them get the details worked out on their own. If you’re obsessing on the detail on the way to pulling off the BIG thing for the first time, you’ll complicate the thing out of the realm of possibility…or out of interest.
7. Know that if you adventure your kids, they’ll develop a taste for conquering BIG things. It will translate into a life practice. Start early. And, never stop.