Recently, President Obama addressed our children in a speech to students on their first day of school. While this speech was the focus of much discussion and debate preceding it, the speech itself felt more like coming home. It was not political or controversial. It was personal. It sounded very much like what he would say to his own children. It sounded very much like what Parenting On Track™ has been saying to parents and children for years.
“Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is… I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals … and to do everything you can to meet them.”
Set goals, and create a Roadmap. In order to move forward – as a student, a parent, an individual – it is important to identify where you are today and then decide: What do you want? What is important? Where do you want to go? How will you get there? If we want to parent from our best, and if we want our children to become their best selves, we will all need a map with a clearly defined starting place, carefully laid out goals, and a final destination worth fighting for.
What happens when you stumble and mess up? Because you will …
“(Y)ou can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.”
It is when faced with failure that our children need Encouragement the most. Rather than trying to save them from the failure or putting a label on it – talk to them about it. Let them tell you what went wrong, what they wish they had done, or what they are going to do next time. It was their mistake, let it be their solution.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”
Talk to your children about everything. Talk, ask, connect with and encourage them all the time, about everything. You will find that they, too, will become good talkers and will ask questions and will connect with others.
“I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do.”
Expect nothing but the best EFFORT from yourself and from your children. This does not mean perfection. This means having the courage to act, make mistakes, build on your strengths and find new insights along the way.
Many thanks to President Obama for his inspiring words of hope, courage and hard work to the young minds that will eventually shape our world. Click here for the full text of President Obama’s speech.