Living with Intention – A healthy habit to teach your children

2019 brought a few reminders not to take this life for granted so I want to make sure I heed those lessons and write an amazing story in this blank 366-page book I have in front of me. This year, my aim is to live life fully with INTENTION. Taking action that aligns with who I am, how I can serve and what I would like to create. Mallika Chopra said, “Living with intent is living a life that is healthy and purposeful, but also joyful. It’s asking ourselves what will make ourselves happy.” Teaching children and adolescents to recognize the importance of getting clear on their intention and taking action steps in line with that intention every day empowers them to live healthy, successful and meaningful lives.

Human beings are hard-wired for connection that begins with the security of our family homes. As children grow into their teenage years, they tend to gravitate towards their friend groups as they become more independent. When they are clear on their intention, it will guide whom they choose to spend their time with and what they want to do. When adolescents know what they want to achieve, they will be more focused on taking steps in that direction, even if it goes against the crowd. When teenagers value the kind of person they want to be, they are better able to keep things in perspective, recognizing that not everything is in their control and that challenging situations will pass.

Here are some ways in which you can help your children to live their lives more intentionally:

Lead by Example
As we know, children learn best from what they see and not what we tell them. Are you clear on your intention? If not, then take a step back from your day to day life to reflect on your heart’s deepest desires, the values that are important for guiding your life, and your life’s purpose. Share your intention with your children and the reasons why you are choosing to spend your energy on those attributes. Tell them stories of aspects of your life that were really important or things that you would have done differently with the value of hindsight. Let them understand the purpose behind the work that you are doing and how that motivates you, even when things are challenging. And acknowledge when you take actions that are not in keeping with the intention that you set so they can appreciate the full journey – the ups and the downs.

Encourage their Dreams
Children tend to be clearer on their deepest desires than adults. Encourage them to talk about their dreams, no matter how unrealistic it may seem. Give them as many opportunities to read about or see their passions first hand. Work with them to create a vision board so they have a visual representation that they can refer to daily to keep them in line with what’s important.

Take Time to Reflect
An important practice to instill in your children, especially given the pace of life, is taking time to reflect. Taking time to review your day regularly gives you the opportunity to acknowledge your progress towards your goals and appreciate the lessons from your failures. With so many external things vying for our attention, creating space to notice to what you are feeling internally helps to bring a deeper self-awareness. In addition, it creates a space where new ideas can flourish. Journaling is a good practice that children can start at an early age to encourage self-reflection.

Practice living your life, so that life does not live you.