How many times have you said the following: “Go to sleep, so you will not be tired in the morning”. “ Study hard so you can get into a good college.” “Don’t speed, I do not want anything to happen to you.” As a mother we have said one, or even all of these sayings. Of course our daughters have heard our “words”, but did our words make sense to them? Maybe…
For years I have been trying to convince my youngest daughter that going to sleep late, effects how tired she is in the morning. Of course she has heard my pleas but did they make sense to her? I am not sure. Now at 10 years old, she gets it. But why did it have to take so long?
I recall pleading with my oldest about maintaining a high-grade point average and staying in honors classes. “Calm down mom” she would say. It drove me crazy! Didn’t she know that if she didn’t do well in high school, she wouldn’t get into college?
I have learned a new technique that I would like to share with you…Stop talking!
Future Time Perspective
There is a well-researched concept in the literature called Future Time Perspective (FTP). In one study it is defined as the extent to which the future is perceived as predictable, structured and controllable; these attributes give the length of the time envisioned in one’s outlook toward the future.
What does that mean? Children and adolescents have difficulty visualizing future concepts. This is normal because during these years the brain is maturing and abstract concepts are difficult for them to comprehend.
Building the Vision
Start dreaming with your daughter, it’s much better than yelling! The best thing you can do for your daughter is to build a vision for her.
Here are a few tips on how to do it.
- Build a vision using words (auditory)
- Instead of saying: “Do your homework, don’t you want to get into a good college.”
“I cannot wait to see you walking on campus at –University and setting up your dorm room, you will be so proud of yourself and so will I”
- Build a vision though touch (tactile)
- Even if your child is a sixth grader consider taking her to a college campus to see and feel all of the excitement and provide her with the vision (future perspective) that she can be there one day.
- Encourage her dreams (vision)
- Place a picture of her dream college on her wall so she can visualize it for the future.
I chose college as an example, but this technique can work in all areas.
You can help build pathways in your daughters MIND to help visualize her FUTURE. 🙂
Noreen E. Mahon and Thomas J. Yarcheski (1994) Future time perspective and positive health practices in adolescents. Perceptual and motor skills: Volume 79, Issue, pp 395-398.
The Quote, I DIDN’T live by but I loved
For years, I had the quote above the windows in my bedroom. It was the first five words I saw every day. I loved the saying and smiled every morning when I read it. Sometimes I would say the words aloud. Then one day, I realized I wasn’t living those words of wisdom. I realized that although I made a good salary, lived in a great neighborhood and had amazing children- my life felt empty.
I slowly created goals and worked toward them. My ultimate goal was to reinvent myself. The process was long and it required me to face many fears and learn how to balance them. I had to take a long look at myself and see some of my negative patterns before the reinventing began.
I thought moving to the city of my dreams and starting a new job at one of the top schools in the country would place me on the path of living the life of my dreams. What I realized was those things are superficial. On the outside they appeared to be major changes. However moving and starting a new job while being the same person could equal to the same results …in a new town and on a new job.
I realized that reinventing myself also has to do with:
1. Identifying habits.
2. Examining and readjusting relationships
3. Reintroducing myself to the person I always wanted to be.
Being True to Ourselves
In an effort to be “True to Oneself” consider these Four things:
1. Ask yourself once a month “Am I being true to myself?” This exercise serves as a tool of self -reflection and evaluation.
2. Challenge one habit of yours once a month. Really evaluate whether or not this habit serves you well.
3. Reassess your relationships. There’s an old saying that says you are a reflection of the 3-5 people you spend most of your time with. Be sure they are important and allow you to grow and flourish.
4. The Answer is in the way you feel. Trust your instincts.
I often tell the parable of The Talents. In short, the story talks about a master that has three servants. The master bestows “talents” onto his servants and the talents they receive match their abilities. Two of the servants take the talents and multiply them, while one servant hides his talent. When the master returns he hails his two servants who multiplied their talents and provided them with even more talents. The servant who hid his talent was scolded and his talent was taken away.
I told this story to my daughter Kennedy when she was seven years old.
I told her that we all have talents and we should showcase them to the best of our ability. She smiled and compared the talents to one of her favorite shows, “My little Pony”. She explained how each pony has a “cutie mark” that demonstrates their talents. And then she asked, “what’s your cutie mark mommy?”.
Finding the True Me
So much of my life has been dictated to me. Many decisions were not really decisions that I made, instead, many are fulfilled expectations based upon my family standards, society and other factors. But what do I really want? Who is the true Donna? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I am consciously reflecting and changing old habits.
After all, I need to find my cutie mark!