It’s so easy to let the precious time of our lives slip away, never getting around to the things we wish most dearly for ourselves and our loved ones. It’s easy and comfortable, and the busy-ness of life can hold a monopoly on our time and energy. We all have ways to try to mitigate this. We try to put the big rocks in first, and that helps. We try to stay present, and that helps. But the world is relentless and the perpetual onslaught of content and entertainment is a near-infinite playground of distraction. It’s no wonder people lose minutes, hours, days and weeks on their screens.
I am especially cognizant of this with my children. These are kids who haven’t known a world without the internet, who at ages 12 and 15 like their peers have had perpetual access to more information, and distraction, than I could have imagined when I was their age. And yet within this context they are growing up and still must find their path to the adults they will become.
The more they know who they are, and the more clearly they envision the things they wish for themselves, the less likely they are to be bumped off their personal path by the influence of friends, romantic relationships, drugs and alcohol, or the 1,001 other ways young people can get siderailed.
In our house we prepare Vision Boards. Each person creates a 1-page collage of images that represent things they’d like to do, or experience, or achieve for themselves over the next 3-6 months. We typically grab images off the internet that spark our imaginations. We print these out and hang them by the dinner table, and it inevitably becomes a conversation topic. “What does that picture of the photography camera mean again? How are things coming with your aerial dance moves – are you making progress doing the splits? Where do we want to go camping this year?” At first it felt awkward and there was some minor resistance from my kids, but there was also curiosity because we wanted to see what the others put on their boards. Now it’s become a part of our family culture, a regular tradition two or three times a year to refresh our Vision Boards. A simple and fun way to help all of us think about the things we wish for ourselves, to make these dreams public, to keep track of them, and to support each other in the pursuit of them.