Being the mom of two teenagers, one emerging adult, and one tween, I find that I do a lot of looking forward. I have to, because that is the direction my children’s gaze is turned. So much in their future is tantalizing: graduation and college and careers, church service and adventures and (eventually!) marriage. So much of their future is the focus of my worries: how do I help them make the right choices, survive their mistakes, find the path that’s right for them? When do I guide them and when do I let them walk forward on their own.
So I’m pretty much in love with our topic this week!
I decided I had to make a layout about my 16-year-old son’s experiences on New Year’s Eve. Or maybe it’s more about my experiences with my son on New Year’s Eve. I have a tradition of asking whoever’s still awake at midnight what their hopes and dreams are for the upcoming year, but when I asked him, he didn’t want to play. (He was despondent over his plans falling through.) So I guessed his wishes, and then he started to laugh, because I was exactly right!
It’s hard to see it when you’re 16 and something feels like a disaster, just how wide with possibilities the world is. In my journaling I wrote about the bigger things I hope this year will bring him. The journaling was inspired by Neil Gaiman’s writing; many New Year’s Eves he writes a wish and shares it with his readers. (You can read some of them here.) (I’ve been meaning to use one as a long title for a layout, but I haven’t done it yet!) Alas, I can’t write like Neil Gaiman (who is one of my favorite writers) but his thoughts helped me shape mine.
My tradition of asking about upcoming hopes is one I undertook intentionally. I wanted to give my kids (and me, really, because I always share mine with them, too) a space for thinking about what is really in their hearts. There is a difference between hoping a thing can happen and making it happen, and I believe that verbalizing the hope is a way to build a bridge toward acting on the hope. But I realized this December 31 (or maybe it was in the wee hours of January 1) that I’ve rarely written down their hopes. I’m so glad I thought to this year!
How do you document your looking-forward thoughts and goals?