How many of us have made New Year's resolutions? How many of us have to make economic survival resolutions. Well, if you're a parent, it would be wise and maybe even a bonding tool to make them with your kids, too.
Although children don't purchase the toothpaste or the laundry detergent, they are not exempt from seeing, hearing and feeling the effects of the current economic crisis for the nation, their neighborhood and stress within their family structure.
Helping your children set goals can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved - your child will grow as you challenge their minds, and you will be able to share in the experience and maintain a healthy, close relationship.
And, for restless teenagers, something like this can help keep them out of the path of trouble.
I'm reminded of a close friend, who let his young daughters have lessons (such as piano, dance, etc.) of their choice. His friends told him he was spoiling them, but he replied: ''I know where my girls are after school. They are working on their hobbies, not being subjected to peer pressure or just focusing with on how to attract boys.''
Yes, allowing your children to have a hobby or encouraging them to delve into a special project can certainly be a tool to keep them focused on educating and elevating themselves, rather than being bored and inevitably getting into unhealthy situations. And depending on the hobby, it can be an entrepreneurial adventure, too, that leads into your child being a successful business-person.
You have the power. It doesn't matter if you are married or if you are single. You are the single most important factor that can influence your child's growth and development.
Some of you may, in these challenging economic times, be worried about the extra cost associated with a hobby. However, there are probably church and community centers in your neighborhood that offer after school programs for young people at a variety of ages. There are also things around you that can set your child on his or her way to public service... neighbors who need their dogs walked, an elderly person who needs help with odd jobs or shovel snow from their front porch or driveway.
You may not be able to give your child money or connections, but you can give them the values to live by: pride, respect, hard work, preparation, inspiration, the desire to give back and the strength to never give up.
Here are some of the ideas and tactics that you can use to put your child on the path to success:
Plant the seeds of success. Let your home be a place where ideas and inspiration are abundant. Tell your child the following: "You can become and do anything you set your heart and mind to."
Let your child grow up believing that there are no limits to what you can do and that anything – and everything is possible.
Let there be plenty of "can do" conversation in your house. Eliminate any and all evidence of overwhelming hopelessness from your home. Remind your children daily that they are destined for great things.
Encourage them to work and make money. Believe in them and help them the sweet smell of success. Teach your child to get out of the lottery ticket mentality and work to make money to support hobbies and the purchase of personal items.
Let them start a business — work for neighbors, babysit or mow lawns. Encourage them to be creative and make things to sell. Let them experience the thrill of creating something themselves and selling it.
Great careers and successful lives start with small ideas. Don't be afraid to let your child experiment. Keep your eyes open and your mind and body working and be ready to work with your child.
Children don't always hit a home run the first time. But they'll never hit a home run if they don't learn to swing. Your child may make only twenty dollars on their first "business".
Whether or not you have children yourself, you are a parent to the next generation.
"If we can only stop thinking of children as individual property and think of them as the next generation, then we can realize we all have a role to play." - Charlotte Davis Kasl, "Finding Joy," 1994
Farrah Gray is the author of "The Truth Shall Make You Rich: The New Road Map to Radical Prosperity."