Last year, I climbed a mountain in Zion National Park.
My husband, the avid hiker, gave me a set of hiking poles and these instructions: “When you start to feel exhausted,” he said, “just concentrate on your next step. Where’s the next, best place to put your foot? Carefully put your foot there, and before you know it you’ll be at the top.”
Many of us get through parenting in this exact same way.
Exhausted, we survive day-to-day by focusing on the bare minimum required next step in our parenting journey. Just getting through until bedtime, or until Saturday’s soccer game, or until the next school break. We limit our thinking to the immediate, the urgent, and the short-term—because that feels productive. It feels like we’re getting somewhere.
In truth, taking just 5 minutes to look at the long view can be exhilarating.
When I was climbing that mountain in Zion, the moments that took my breath away happened when I stopped, lifted my head, and looked out over miles of sheer cliffs and valleys, all the way to the misty distant horizon.
Taking 5 minutes to look toward the parenting horizon can be both exhilarating and transformative.
For 5 minutes right now, think, “What could we as a family do this year, that could impact our descendants 100 years from now?”
Is there something you could do now related to education, to money and debt, or to moral and spiritual development, that could pay off for generations to come?
Our culture is currently plagued and limited by a short-term thinking mindset. You don’t have to be.
Ari Wallach, in this powerful TED Talk, urges us all to transform our children’s and grandchildren’s futures by breaking free of the 3-5 year “short-termism” that, he says, “permeates every nook and cranny of our cultural reality.” Wallach calls us all to practice “longpath” thinking that asks this important question: “To what end?”
What is the purpose in what we’re doing? Where are we going with this?
How will these decisions we’re making today impact our family 100 years from now?
What could we do this year that could pay off in huge ways…for generations?
Carefully consider these words, which I consider to be the most important in Wallach’s TED Talk:
Wallach says, “Ask yourself, ‘What can I do now, that will radically affect my children and grandchildren after I die?’ Think about your long path. Push past 3-5 years. Push past your own life, if you can, because doing so will make you do things a little bit bigger than you thought were possible.”
Let’s all do this. Even if just for five minutes.
Now, you can guarantee that you’ll do long-term strategic thinking for five minutes every single week.
Subscribe to my free weekly email newsletter by using the “sign up for email updates” form on this site. I’ll send a helpful debt-free college article to your email inbox every Monday morning. (Be sure to whitelist my address with your email provider so I always show up in your primary inbox.)
One way to impact generations is to strategize to get your own middle schoolers and high schoolers through college debt-free and into jobs they thrive in afterward.
I can help. I’m the author of this step-by-step guide:
You can “Look Inside” the book on Amazon for free by going to:
(Tell your friends.)
You can see the “Top 9 Questions Parents Are Asking Me About LAUNCH,” here.
Read just one chapter of LAUNCH every 1-3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.
And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it – especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.
Do you have friends who are parenting kids ages 12 – 22? SHARE this post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn right now.
What about you? What do you do for your family that encourages long-term thinking? Comment below or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook, find this post on that page, and let’s talk about it there.
Who is Jeannie Burlowski?
Jeannie is a full-time academic strategist, author, speaker, and podcast host. Her writing, speaking, and podcasting help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, USA Today, NerdWallet, and US News and World Report, and on CBS News.