Nurturing a Vision in our Kids

By Zerline Hughes

My daughter and I kicked off 2016 by attending a vision board event together. What better way to set out goals and dreams than creating a poster to remind us daily of all the things we should be doing, achieving, working toward?

If you’re unfamiliar with vision boarding, think of a throwback elementary school collaging project where you use magazine photos, words, logos and other images to create a hodgepodge of illustrations that speak to one’s vision, purpose and goals for a set period of time. You can include family photos, business logos, stickers, bling – anything that can be affixed on a piece of paper or poster board for display– to help remind you of your goals.

jt tamThe event was hosted by Tamika Felder, friend, entrepreneur, cervical cancer advocate and so much more! She recently went out on a limb, much like me, by quitting her job and setting her sights on her dream – to become an international spokesperson. Her testimony is quite inspirational, so I knew I wanted to build my future with her assistance.

I also know that with my daughter, turning 11 at the beginning of the year and leaving the comforts of elementary school life in just a few months, could benefit from a gentle nudge to help her think about her future.

I’ve been there, done that (though I would like to do some more …), but it’s her turn to start thinking independently about shining, molding, becoming who she wants to be. It’s time for her to understand her desires and thoughts without a push from her parents. I don’t want her to get lost in the shadow of her brother or decide to do things based on pressure from her peers.

According to an Education World article, “hope is one of our most critical community resources.” Educator Ruth Charney writes that mapping out hopes and dreams for our youths at the beginning of a school year can make all the difference.

“To do our job well, to teach with conviction, patience, and skill, requires a steady infusion of hope. We have to maintain our hope that children can succeed, even in the face of struggle,” she writes. “ … We also need to invite our children to articulate their social and academic goals. When we ask our children to explore their hopes, we give them the opportunity to invest in their own schooling and, with eagerness, to bring their hope into the classroom each year.”

Well, lemme just say after having a panic attack over my own vision board and realizing that I had no vision for my personal desires because of an overwhelming, overflowing business and family vision, my daughter had no problems cutting and pasting her vision onto her poster.

In fact, her visions were inspiring, touching, and actually made me cry. Yeah, I’m a softie.
To my surprise, she pasted goals of being healthy and fit. Woah! She illustrated her vision of herself working as a veterinarian. She used words like “love” and “hope” and expressed a desire to actually like her work! jt poster

 

Here’s some tips for helping at-risk students create their future from Maurice Elias, Professor of Psychology, Director, Rutgers Social-Emotional Learning Lab, Director, the Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service:

“Students do not attain reachable goals on their own. Like any of us, students are more likely to move ahead when they know that there is a path to get there. Imagine how useless MapQuest or similar services would be if they allowed you to enter the starting point and the destination but did not give you a road map to travel from one to the other.

” … We must recognize the difficulty of trying a new path and both prepare students for obstacles and support them when they run into problems. This can be highly challenging, as some of the students’ erroneous actions will violate school rules or perhaps even legal boundaries. We must handle such cases individually and with discerning judgment rather than with the kind of formulaic justice that has led the United States to have the largest school dropout rates and, proportionately, the greatest prison population of any developed country, according to recent reports in the New York Times. This is how, all too often, promising lives get discarded.”

Discarded? Not these two.

Despite my own hang ups about where and how I will be dividing up my time for 2016, I’m excited that my girl is ready to take on the year carrying out her vision to the fullest. I’ll make sure to support it, not critique it and watch her bloom into what she has visualized for herself.

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