5 Things You Can Do Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For | by Jessalyn Jackson | Ascent Publication

Feed the student’s imagination that will evoke ambition for their future.

“Life ahead does not seem to be that inviting. I just live day to day and keep my head down, one foot in front of the other.  The only thing I look forward to, and I can hardly wait for is the weekend when I am with my friends. You ask me what do I want to be, or where do I see myself in 10 years time? You must be kidding- right?”

When a student scores low on hope, it could be just their feeling in this moment. We must not pathologize low scores on any C or catastrophize it. But if the mood persists between scores, one can expect that there are other low scores to go with the ensemble. Confident people are usually hopeful, and courageous people know they can make it through. So a lack of hope at any one time in a students life is usually connected to a larger inner story going on. Like curiosity where we said that human beings in the development stages are wired to learn, so too they are wired to the future. For hope to be quenched or dampened, something else is getting in the way. Think of the future as the sun shining through and a deficit of hope as a shadow that blots out that light shining ahead. What can a member do?

Sometimes a student is never invited into any imagination about tomorrow. They might have no one in the family who entertains great ambitions because their means are spare. They could dream of becoming rich and famous but being poor and forgotten is hardly a good starting point. But in past years, when members see that students have no clue about what they want to do or be, they have taken steps to feed the future imaginations. They take students on college tours and they have career fairs and they inject into programs role playing where students step into that future and explore. It can be a fun game. As someone said, hope does not exist in isolation. It needs to be fed and one feeds hope through imagination and inspiration. As Emily Dickenson wrote:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

Superman For Earth (To Save A World!): Amazon.com: BooksThe other part of the answer is ambition. Children love to think and play big. The American dream might have frayed at the edges of late, but children love heroes and villains, they love to be dramatic, they love to save the world or build the fastest rocket or cure cancer or save the planet. If the future they can imagine is better because of the lead role they can play, then perhaps some of that future can rub off into an enthusiasm for what they are learning and living now.

Sometimes, as members we can create the future even now for a student. We can see them emerging and treat them not as students but as the adults they are going to be. When a star says “they were discovered” they often mean that someone say their future self before they did and believed in it. There is the members assignment for students who do not see a future. See the future self that the student does not see and mirror that back.



Raising more optimistic children 

How to teach children Hope 

The Power of Hope 


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