Don't give up your passions! Doing what you love is good for you and your family too.
“Do what I say, not what I do.”
Have you ever taken this approach with your kids? I teach my kids to dream big, to reach for the stars, to move mountains in their own little ways—then I stand by as my own dreams and passions fall into a forgotten valley.
My love for reading was one of the first passions I let die when I became a mom. Who has time to read for pleasure with children to take care of? For the past several years, my books gathered. As a result, I was becoming less of who I am instead of more. I was suffering. That meant my family was suffering too, because I wasn’t my best self and they couldn’t be their best selves either. Last year I decided that my love of reading, the part of me that loves words and stories, was worth returning to. I carved out time, set a reading goal, and made reading amazing novels a priority again. I needed to re-embrace my hobbies and dreams and through that, show my children by example that things we love are worth pursuing … no matter what!
Through this small act, everyone in my family has reignited their love of reading and prioritized self-care. Just yesterday my 6 year old, while snuggled in her bed, said to me, “Mama, look at me, I’m reading and relaxing just like you!” At her tender age she doesn’t quite grasp what self-care is, but surely she was experiencing the joy that a story can bring. My husband has even started reading via audiobook during his long commute. With us both exploring new worlds and topics through reading, our meaningful conversations have skyrocketed, helping us to enjoy each other even more.
Here are 5 benefits for your family. Prioritizing your dreams can:
1) Instill the Importance Self-Care
When your kids see you living your dreams and following your passions they begin to understand that moms and dads are people who need taking care of too. They’re more than chauffeurs, laundry people, and cooks, imagine that! Using the simple phrase, “I’m taking care of myself” when your children ask what you’re up to kicks off a great conversation about how your children can take care of themselves too.
2) Increase Earning Potential
Isn’t it everyone’s dream to quit their day job and do what they love all day every day and earn money doing it? Once you get good at doing something you love, you can figure out how to monetize it and add to your family’s financial security.
3) Teach Routine and Responsibility
Dreamers can get a bad rap. Some think they don’t focus or follow through on their commitments. I think just the opposite. Dreaming grounds routine and increases responsibility when introduced in the right way. When I hear my kids say something about who they want to become or what they want to try, instead of discouraging them by noting the improbability of their dreams, I take the opportunity to talk through the steps it will take to get them there and help them think outside the box. We establish routines for them to practice and flex their skills and I share with them how I’ve learned, succeeded, and failed throughout my own dreaming journey.
4) Grow Creativity and Risk-taking
The whole idea behind pursuing dreams is to find a balance between risking it all and going through life giving up everything you’ve ever wanted. Let your dreams evolve. When circumstances change, be creative and let your dreams ebb and flow. Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks and while you’re at it, walk your kids through the process so they’ll be able to mimic healthy dream chasing when their time comes.
5) Create Traditions
When you make room for your passions, you also open the door for your family to enjoy your passions with you. As a result, you can create new family traditions based around things you introduce your family to. Because of my husband’s passion for sports, for example, my kids find all things sports related to be a perfect opportunity to build their relationship with their dad and maximize their quality time together. We have many family traditions that circle around sporting events. Although sports are not my favorite pastime, I’ve come to love the time we spend together amid touchdowns and final buzzers. His passion for sports has created a tradition for our family and it has helped us grow closer together. You can do that too!