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:
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