Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Wings To Fly: Inspiring your Teens


Believe in what your heart is saying
Hear the melody that's playing
There's no time to waste
There's so much to celebrate
Believe in what you feel inside
And give your dreams the wings to fly
You have everything you need
If you just believe


Taken from the popular movie "Polar Express" this beautiful song sung by Josh Groban reminds us to never give up on our dreams. The New Year (2011) also reminds us that we have dreams to fulfill, goals to reach, and lives to inspire. As parents we must remember it is our job to not only reach our own goals, but to also help our children (our family) find, nurture, and renew their own dreams.  


But inspiring teens and young adults to cultivate their dreams can be difficult. Many children reach for dreams that are instilled in them by parents or other family members, but not all. Some children come to us singing their own songs and dreaming their own dreams. As parents we must learn to inspire, encourage, and lead with finesse. We must learn to cultivate the magic and balance it with the reality of life.  

Although I can inspire and encourage my teen, I have limitations as to what I can offer my child. If my child has a passion for boating and I have never owned a boat, it is difficult for me to teach them this skill. When he takes off for college, for a life of their own, I believe I should continue to support him but if he has not experienced all that he wants out of life it becomes his duty to seek it out. My job is to give my children a zest for all that life has to offer. My job is to give them values and morals that will act as a compass throughout their life. Life will teach them what I cannot. 

"Destinations are where we begin again"

Although this song and movie are traditionally associated with the Christmas holiday, I believe it fits nicely with a New Year theme.  My favorite line is, "Destinations are where we begin again."  As a parent, it reminds me that my goal is to see my children happy and to help them imagine their future and measure it against their past. If I can help them look forward to each new day then at the end of each day as they reach small destinations they will discover how to cultivate the hope of life. They will begin to seek out new destinations, new goals, and new opportunities that will help them cultivate the love of our family. 


When we teach our children to believe in something bigger than themselves they find within themselves the power to live. As the song so beautifully teaches we should help our children "believe in what their heart is saying and hear the melody its playing." Only then can we give them their "wings to fly." 

Believing cultivates faith and faith moves them forward into a new year filled with new experience and hope. Many will want to reminisce over the past years victories or failures, but  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland cautions us, "The past is to be learned from but not lived in."  It is important to help your child cultivate an attitude of optimism by showing them what they have learned and how they can continue on their joyful journey. 

Personally I am excited for this new year. I am excited because as I write this I realize that I have never before been the mother of children who are at the particular age they are now (29, 28, 25, 23, 20, 13). Each  of my children bring such renewed perspective to my life and teach me many wonderful lessons. Each of them have inspired me with their own ability to dream. 

As they do this they remind me of how like each new day, family gives me the renewal to continue parenting and co-leading our family. I am excited at the opportunity to inspire my own children to believe in themselves and in one another. I am excited because in doing so their joy is reflected back into my life. 

Parenting comes with many unexpected experiences. Part of parenting is helping your child gracefully balance their dreams with life's reality.  Life has not always been what I would have expected it to be, but it can be all that I dream it to be if I will believe... in myself.. in my teen.. and in my family. For it is in family that dreams ultimately come true. 

Happy New Year! 2011 Believe!

How have your parents supported you as you reached for your dreams? 

How do you believe you can inspire your teens, your young adults, your young children to set goals and achieve them? 

Do goals have a greater purpose than to be merely reached? 

How do you help your children define their goals? 


by  Linda Shaw 

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