Todd looked out the back window of the house. He had expected to hear his eight-year-old son, Brandon, bouncing his soccer ball off the cement retaining wall. However, the yard was silent. Instead of practicing, Brandon was sitting next to the soccer ball and picking at blades of grass. Since making the local soccer team and someday playing professionally was one of his kid’s goals, Todd was concerned with the lack of interest. When he walked out into the yard to ask what was wrong, Brandon looked up and said, “Dad, I’m just feeling stuck.”
Todd and his wife, Molly, had always been intentional about setting goals and working toward them. They had always tried to encourage their kids to do the same. But for the last eighteen months, the whole family had been feeling stuck. It wasn’t just Brandon. As he walked back into the house, Todd wondered what his family could do to get unstuck.
Everything in the universe (including your family) is moving in some way and has momentum. For instance, think of the momentum a rock gains as it tumbles down the side of a hill. Living things also have momentum, which propels them in certain directions and outcomes. Ask yourself this question: Is your family’s momentum positive or negative?
Positive momentum builds relational stability and health, while negative momentum moves toward dysfunction and dissatisfaction. And just as momentum in the physical universe can be difficult to alter, a family’s negative momentum can be tough to change, especially when working against unhealthy patterns and habits. Negative momentum can have an impact on your kids’ goals and desire to attain them.
5 Ways to Encourage Your Kids’ Goals When Your Family is Feeling Stuck
Think of your situation. Are you overwhelmed and exhausted? Have you surrendered on some important boundaries for your children? Have certain circumstances intensified momentum in the wrong direction?
Consider these five ideas for changing momentum in your home back to a positive momentum:
- Look in the mirror. Jesus said, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3). It’s easy to blame others and circumstances for our difficulties, but we can change this by redirecting our own thoughts and actions and by looking at our behaviors first.
- If you’re married, love your spouse. The relationship between a husband and wife is foundational to the home. When that relationship is going well, it is more likely that parents will have the mental and emotional energy to love and guide their children.
- Smile. Even if things aren’t going well, smiling can help loosen up your mind toward possibilities rather than getting stuck on limitations. Experiment with the ripple effect of a genuine smile on your family.
- Make time to talk. Conversation that is loving, warm, and understanding can create positive momentum regardless of your circumstances. Use life-giving words that bring truth, encouragement and, when needed, loving correction.
- Carve out time together. Play board games, exercise together, take walks, or cook as a family. The key is doing things together.
Parenting is filled with new days. You get a sunrise and a sunset every day. The time goes quickly and you get the incredible opportunity of having a deep foundational influence on your children’s lives. By taking the time to shift the momentum from negative to positive, you can find that your family is no longer feeling stuck and that your kids’ goals are coming back into focus.
For more on being an intentional parent, start by taking the FREE 7 Traits of Effective Parenting assessment.