Hope is the belief in a positive future. It is an optimistic, exciting sense of what is possible. In this time of global health crisis, economic uncertainty, racial reckoning, and physical disconnection from other human beings, the day to day challenges of doing everything differently make it difficult to hold onto hope. Yet hope is an antidote to despair. It can give us the energy to persevere and can offer a sense of purpose, calm and connection. Parents are children’s first hope builders. Your presence, connection, and attitude can help your child be more hopeful. They look to you to set their sail. Try some of these ideas to bring hope into your regular family practice.
- Name hope. Share examples of when you feel hopeful about something. Encourage your child to do the same. Notice how the positive energy of hope impacts the situation. What you have hope for may or may not turn out to be true, but the awareness and sense of hope is powerful.
- See their strengths. You want your children to be the best they can be, but often that results in noticing what is wrong, more than what is right. Spend some time thinking about who your child is. What are their strengths? What do you appreciate about them? Think about how their strengths will help them be adults that make the world a better place. Notice your child’s strengths out loud. Their belief in themselves and their capability will foster their hope.
- Avoid rescuing children. If they bump up against an obstacle, let them you know that you have faith that they can figure it out. Encourage them to work it out for themselves. This doesn’t mean abandonment, you can coach them or give them ideas Stay connected and interested…as a cheerleader rather than fixer.
- Talk about the future. Plan for the future. As new opportunities come up, discuss the possible outcomes. It is okay to be unsure, but find things that help you feel hopeful about the situation. Start a savings account that your whole family contributes to for a future outing together. Put things on the calendar for the future and model flexibility when plans need to be altered when the time comes.
- Start a hands-on project. Many of our hours these days are spent in the online world. Find a project to do with your kids that allows them to touch materials and use tools. It’s good for them to be a part of the beginning, middle and completion of something real that they can see and hold. This process from conception through to finished product inspires a sense of competence, accomplishment and control that inspires hope. Here are some ideas for DIY projects.
- Read, read, read. Books can be a wonderful resource for helping children build hope. There are lots of children’s stories about finding joy and connection on the other side of adversity.