John Maxwell tells the story of the man who, walking home late one night, took a short cut through a grave yard. Little did he know that a new grave had been dug that day. In the dark, the man fell into a deep newly dug grave. After an hour of trying to dig his way out he finally lie down and took a nap. Sure enough, a second man coming home late made the same mistake and falls into the same open grave. As expected, the second man tries and tries to claw his way out of the grave. Waking the other man in the grave, he hears someone say, “Give up! It’s no use trying to get out of here.” Immediately, the second man bounded out of the grave!
What was the difference: the power of motivation.
Two of my sons who were ‘late readers.’ I take all the blame. I loved reading to them! Naturally, WHY would they need to struggle to do something that someone else LOVED doing for them?
Both guys became motivated in upper grade school and began reading like scholars. Both young men graduated two years early from high school and went on to receive college degrees in record time. The oldest has received a masters’ degree and the youngest is currently enrolled in law school.
MOTIVATION made the difference.
You may be asking how can I motivate my adult child to… get a job? Move out? Take seriously his commitments? Finish what she started?
FIRST: BELIEVE IN THEM
You have to BELIEVE in your child and SPEAK affirmations! Your words have power! Are you encouraging—NOT FLATTERING?
YOU MUST TRULY believe in them.
Ask to see your children through God’s eyes…THEN SPEAK THAT VISION! Do not waste your words on small encouragement such as, “You make a mean barbecue!” Speak words of significance into your children:
You are doing so much so well! God is really going to use your company to bless others!
Son, God is going to use all this education for His Glory and the benefit of mankind! You are going to change the world!
You are the kindest person in dealing with those young children. No wonder everyone wants you to be their Nanny!
Your skill and humility are the perfect leadership combo for this job. What a blessing you are to these people you are working with!
Focus on their character and gifts. Touch their heart before you ask for their hand in accomplishments. They ARE STILL THOSE TINY HUMANS God gifted to you as a parent.
SECOND: WALK THE TALK
Do you want your children to do the hard things? Then, accept someone else’s challenge for you! STRUGGLE in front of your kids! If you are want your adult children to take more of an interest in their health… yep, you gotta join the gym. Want them to finish their degree? Take some continuing ed classes. MODEL for your children what you want them to accomplish.
LASTLY, (and this is my favorite!)
GIVE THEM A REPUTATION TO UPHOLD
My favorite activity with my grandchildren is tucking them in at night and telling LOTS of stories of when their parents were young.
I love retelling how brave their daddy acted, when (at eight years old!) he refused to allow me, HIS MOTHER, to put out signs stating our address. I was trying to help someone relocate their lost dog that we had found. John did not want me to be unprotected while his dad was out of town. A reputation to protect those you care about.
There is the story of their mom (my daughter) who was the youngest in her gymnastics class and worked for weeks to do a back flip even after the older girls had moved on, just because she would not give up. A reputation of determination!
Motivation means inspiring others to be what they were created to be… especially if they are our children.