What do you want to be when you grow up? Children love to answer that question. Their narrow worldview usually limits the answers to a predictable list, but sometimes they surprise us. My daughter loved quoting Little Women’s Jo, “I’m going to New York to pursue the stage. Are you shocked?”
As parents we imagine what these little ones will someday be. We wonder how they’ll get into the right college, and how we’ll afford it. Lately, though, I’ve been thinking a related, and maybe a better question to ponder is, “What do you want to be like when you grow up? What will your character be?”
In designing curriculum, educators often follow the principle of backward design. With backwards design, teachers ask, “What is the ultimate goal? Where do I want my students to be at the end of this course?” Then we go about determining the materials, the lessons, and the steps it will take to get us there. Steven Covey calls it beginning with the end in mind.
As parents, we can do the same. What kind of character do you want your child to have when he/she is 20? What do you want him/her to be like? Right now you may be dealing with a 2 or 3 year old, but decisions you make today influence the future. How can you model behavior, respond to issues, and provide opportunities for your child to develop the character qualities he will need in order to thrive?
Here are a few thoughts to consider.