Helping Kids Think About the Future

If you want to see your child succeed, you need to show them the connection between today’s planning and tomorrow’s opportunities.

As an adult, it’s easy to look back and see how your choices in school influenced where you are today. But think back to your younger days. The future impact of your daily choices probably wasn’t as obvious to you back then.

I hear students of all ages saying things like: “Hey, it’s not that serious” or “My grades aren’t that serious” or “How I act in school is just not that serious.”

Listen—it is that serious. And one of my favorite ways to challenge the students I meet is by explaining how the choices they’re making today will be a serious factor in the caliber of their future.

LAURA’S STORY

Let me tell you about a friend of mine named Laura. I met her one day a couple of years ago while I was working out at the gym.

I was doing my usual routine, working hard on the treadmill, when I noticed this woman in front of me on an elliptical. In fact, it was tough to miss her. She was going even harder than me, spitting and sweating and attracting a lot of attention.

Laura was exercising so hard that everyone was laughing at her. She was something to see!

But I’ll never forget how she had this determined look on her face. You could tell she had a goal in mind and she was not going to quit. As we were exercising, two young girls walked behind us. I overheard one of them say, “It’s not that serious.”

IT’S THAT SERIOUS

When Laura took a break to go for some water, I was right behind her. There had to be something important going on in her mind to inspire all that business.

“Are you okay?” I asked her.

She said she was fine, and in fact she was feeling better all the time.

“Anthony,” she said, “if you’d seen me a year ago, you would know why I’m working so hard today. Last year I weighed over 300 pounds.”

Laura told me about a pivotal conversation she had with her doctor and her mission to lose weight.

“When my doctor asked how I felt, I said I felt great,” Laura said. “He told me, ‘You may feel great, but you’re definitely not doing well. In fact, you’re at serious risk of a heart attack.’”

That’s when it hit her how serious her situation was! She realized she needed to make some major changes.

“I’ve been getting here every single day and getting on that machine,” she said. “And I don’t care if anyone else is laughing at me, because I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do to get healthy! I am going to live!”

SIMPLE BUT SERIOUS: MOMENTUM OVER TIME

The day Laura’s doctor asked about her health, Laura didn’t know she was on the verge of a heart attack because she felt fine. Her new choice was simple but serious—she had to decide whether to live her life based on how she felt that day or to live with the future clearly in her mind.

Here’s where you and your child come in. A series of poor choices has the potential to lead any of us in a bad direction and toward painful consequences. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Good decisions over time can lead to great rewards! For instance, saving some of your money instead of spending it all or practicing good study habits instead of blowing off your schoolwork.

I’m still in touch with Laura. You’ll be happy to know that today she weighs in at a far healthier weight. If it wasn’t for her decision several years ago to take her health seriously, she could have died. But she decided: Today is the day. It was something serious enough to convince her to do whatever it took to live.

The choice to take your future seriously is one we each face every single day. And the same is true for your child. As a parent, help them to see that the choices they’re making today will impact who they are tomorrow, next year and for the rest of their life.

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