It has been stated that 98 percent of people are followers; 2 percent are the shapers of culture. The 2 percent are the dreamers. One of our biggest responsibilities as parents is not only to protect our kids from culture but to help them be the shapers of culture. Not only do we need to be dreamers, but we must train our children to think like a dreamer as well.
How do we get them to be the dreamers for their generation, inventing the gadgets, writing the songs, driving the businesses, running for political office and sitting on school boards? It starts while they are young. As moms and dads, we need to be about the business of sparking the desire and planting the seed in their heart to creatively dream when they are very, very young. Let me give you some practical ways that you can do this for your kids.
From a very young age, encourage your children to be 'others-oriented.' For example, when your kids decide to get entrepreneurial, you can encourage them to mow lawns and sell lemonade so that they can donate the money to help other people.
We can also teach them to be opportunistic. When my oldest daughter, Hannah, was 13, she had an idea that she wanted to use the Internet to help preteen girls through a Web site she wanted to create. I got a mentor to help her learn how to do a little bit of programming and she got several preteen girls on that site and ministered to them. She saw this truth: "If I have a dream, I can learn how to go about achieving it, and I can accomplish something." Show your kids how to take a vision from the idea stage to completion.
All throughout our kids' growing up years, we had a special Christmas morning tradition of going to Salvation Army to serve a meal before we would open up our gifts to send a message that Christmas is about serving, not just indulging ourselves. Inevitably, we would end up having some conversations with people who were really hurting, listening to them and praying for them.
You can widen your kid's range of dreaming by giving them out of the box experiences. Some examples would be leadership camp like Student Leadership University, basketball camp, acting camp or anything that will give them a skill they can use even in their high school years to serve others and become excellent at something.
One of the greatest out of the box experiences you can give your kids is enabling them to go on a mission's trip in America or another part of the world. There they can see how other people live who are far less fortunate than we are in America. Start doing this at a young age.
Many parents think, I can't influence anything my kid does at school. That is not true. First of all, when they are young, plant in their heart the desire to have the right kinds of friends. That does not always mean they are going to choose correctly, so you are going to have to help shape who they call, who they hang out with, who they are allowed to interact with after school. Most important, get your kids connected with kids who are really making a positive difference.
One of the most important things you can do is limit your kid's media intake; the more they watch other people's media, the more they are part of other people's dreams; brainwashed by the culture's values.
Ultimately, your kids are your heritage to the world. Planting seeds in them from a very early age to use their life to change the world is our primary job. Then we will all have children who impact the world much more than we have.
This article was adapted from Ron's lastest book, Re-Create: Building a Culture in Our Homes That Is Stronger Than the Culture Deceiving Our Kids. Look for it at your nearest bookstore, or visit www.battlecry.com for more information.