A common question asked by many parents is “how can I get my child to be focused?” Even the parents whose children exhibit focus find it necessary to continually seek new and innovative ways to help their children remain focused.
Wise parents understand now more than ever that in this instantaneous gratification – short-term attention span society – being able to focus is an invaluable quality to possess. Children who learn how to focus and remain focused today will be the leaders of tomorrow.
Block out the Clutter
There are a couple keys to being focused. Perhaps, the most important key is knowing how to block out the clutter. What is clutter, you ask?
Clutter is everything that is superfluous. And just like the word superfluous, clutter is everything that is unnecessary, everything that doesn’t matter. Anything or anyone that keeps you from reaching your goal is – you guessed it – clutter.
Clutter distracts us from what’s real – from what’s truly important. Clutter keeps us from establishing and striving to achieve our goals. Clutter discourages us from assessing what truly interests us and prevents us from determining if our “passion” is our purpose. Because of clutter, we often fail to live up to our potential.
Most of us are well acquainted with clutter. Clutter says to a child things such as “you can’t”, “you won’t”, “you’re not good enough”, “you’re not that smart”, etc. Clutter befriends a parent by convincing us that our goals are beyond our reach; that our goals are too challenging; that achieving those goals would take too much time; or that our goals are only to be pursued by “young people, smarter people, etc.”.
To be sure, clutter is not your child’s friend nor is clutter your sounding board. Clutter is a liar. Clutter is the Great Destroyer of Dreams and Infinite Possibilities. Clutter must be rejected by both you and your child.
Be on the Look Out
Once you understand that there is clutter, you must be on constant look out for clutter. Clutter like oxygen is just about everywhere. Clutter won’t be hard to identify but early on it will challenge you as you try to reconcile its existence in your life.
Clutter is not an imaginary or mystical creature. Clutter comes from the voices – the voices of those in your crowd. Clutter is the parent who tells their child that they are too little to play. Clutter is the teacher who tells a child they aren’t smart enough to take those classes. Clutter is the counselor who encourages the child to reduce their expectations and accept a lower socioeconomic status. Clutter is the friend or family member who prefers gloom over hope anytime you dare dream or speak of doing something that improves your life. Clutter is the friend or loved one who breaks into play when it is clearly time to work.
Clutter is also produced by the person in the mirror. Yes, clutter is not only external, we create our own – internal clutter. In fact, the clutter we create is likely the most destructive clutter of all. Internal clutter is the most deafening of all clutter.
Internal clutter makes it most challenging for us to ignore those external discouraging voices. Internal clutter taxes us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually telling us over and over again that we are not good enough or that we are wasting our time. Few things are more useful to one’s personal development than knowing how to turn off or change the resounding track of internal clutter.
Fortunately, where there is focus, there is hope! You can change or turnoff the internal clutter track the moment you decide to let in the vision. Without question, you can silence internal clutter so that you can pursue and achieve your goals.
Let in the Vision
A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Don’t allow your child to waste their mind by getting sidetracked by clutter and failing to concentrate on what matters. Help your child develop and maintain a mental image and a workable plan that will make it possible for them to actualize their dreams and goals.
There are many ways to help your child see through and manipulate the clutter. A few of the methods are as follows:
- Construct a Visual Image – Literally and figuratively, construct something visual that will help your child stay focused. Create a collage which has words and images that remind and encourage your child. Create an oversized poster or banner that your child can see each day. Allow your child the artistic freedom to paint on one wall in their room or on the ceiling all their hopes and dreams. If it will help your child stay focused, don’t sweat the mess or the appearance. Eliminating the clutter is all that matters.
- Talk About Others – I don’t mean gossip or say disparaging things about people. Instead, talk about those people who have achieved and had the type of success your child dreams of having. What you and your child will soon discover is that before anybody was somebody they first were nobody. Knowing the whole story about those we hold in high esteem is invaluable. The history of others illuminates that the road to success is best traveled when we remove the clutter and focus.
- Share a Goal – There are few things that help us remain focused more than success. Sometimes all we need is the slightest amount of success to remain focused. I call those small moments of success the “Glimmer of Hope” factor. Give your child a glimmer of hope by setting aside a moment to share an achievable goal with them – be each other’s accountability partner. Whatever you do, do not be the critical parent! By choosing not to be the critical parent –clutter, you will help your child set and achieve a goal. Experiencing the smallest success is a step in the right direction to helping a child become more confident and increases their ability to focus.
- Be an Example – As it is with most things about parenting, a great way to help a child learn to focus is to be raised by a focused parent. I believe in the expression “what they see is what they’ll be”. A parent who wants their child to be focused or more focused, must be the example of focus or better yet – singled minded concentration. If you want your child to be focused on their future, you should be focused on their and your present. Your life must illustrate daily that the things you say are important are incontrovertibly obvious by your actions. Children watch more than they will ever listen. Children know not only when you’re not focused, they know what has your attention. Children can tell when you are living a life that is full of clutter!
In the event, I did not make it clear, asking how to get your child to be focused or more focused is a great question. Focused children are not only good for the parents, focused children are good for everyone. Focused children become accomplished adults. Focused children change the world. Without focused children, there is little hope that this world can ever be a better place.
What are you doing to help your children focus? Does your life exhibit focus? Are you listening to and/or is your life full of clutter?