One good and easy way of doing this is to raise kids who look at the big picture, because it increases their emotional intelligence and, as a result, their happiness and success in everything they do.
Kids who are able to see beyond local and immediate circumstances (“right here, right now and only me”) can handle and prevent difficulties more easily and it only takes practice to teach kids this mindset. Seeing the big picture means being able to detach and look beyond what is happening right here, right now into other places and other times that are being affected. It is very much like being in a helicopter (hence the term “helicopter view”, as opposed to “tunnel vision”).
At any stage of their emotional development, kids can benefit from seeing how their actions today are likely to benefit them tomorrow. For kids, looking too far ahead is a bit challenging, but in order to develop their “Big Picture” thinking ability, they need to play with their imaginary future life and find things they would like to achieve later on.
Here is a list of questions that will help your kids see the big picture and start building a happy and better tomorrow for themselves. Each question requires your kids to leave the moment, detach themselves from their current circumstances and explore different options of thinking, believing and behaving. The questions help the kids grow by answering what they want to have, do and be. Please remind them this is just a game of dreaming that will set them up to do great things and encourage them to be the best they can be.
Big picture questions
- If I had all the money in the world, I would…
This question allows kids to dream big without one of the biggest limitations that kids have – believing they have limited resources and therefore no power. At first, kids will answer things they would like to buy, but as they develop and grow emotionally, they will start using their imaginary money to do nice things that are much more important, like “take my family to a cruise” or even better, use their imaginary money to acquire and improve valuable skills.
- If I could do anything I wanted, I would…
This question is a great dreaming question that helps kids see beyond the limitation of age, height, knowledge and skills. This question is great for finding the obstacles kids might see in front of them. Bear in mind that your role is not to diminish a farfetched dream and bring kids into “reality” but to encourage them to dream big. After all, Thomas Edison was not in touch with “reality” on his 1,499th attempt to produce a quality light bulb.
- One day, I would like to be…
This is a “being” question, rather than a “having” or “doing” one. In the early years, kids confuse doing with being and list desired professions in their answer (“I want to be a pilot”), but over time, they shift to real being answers, like “I want to be smart/strong/creative”.
These simple, basic questions are very useful in developing good emotional intelligence. Encourage your kids to answer them and keep the answers in a safe place, so you can compare them in six months. It is like an emotional growth chart.
Of course, you can make a similar chart for yourself too.