Most children do not have control of their lives. They can’t make big decisions like where to live or what to buy. In many cases, they can’t even make small decisions like deciding what time they’ll go to bed or when they can have dinner. It’s not a punishment; it’s childhood.
For foster children, who are moved from their homes without any say, feeling helpless is almost inevitable. But there are ways to empower the children in your home in order to have them take ownership of their future.
Start with a vision board.
For the uninitiated, a vision board is a tool used to “help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal,” according to MakeAVisionBoard.com. What it literally is, however, is a board (poster board, cardboard, etc.) where you display pictures or images that represent your desires – specifically what you want for your future.
How does it work? Vision boards help you gain clarity about what you want and keep you attuned to your goals. The power of visualization, of seeing what you desire for your future every day in plain sight in front of you, is supposed to help you bring these things to reality.
According to the bestselling self-help book The Secret, “The law of attraction is forming your entire life experience and it is doing that through your thoughts. When you are visualizing, you are emitting a powerful frequency out into the Universe.”
The foster child in your home may feel like a passenger in his own life. He was removed from the world he knew and placed somewhere without any input. He might think this is simply how life works, that decisions are simply made for him and he has to go along with it. What’s the point of doing anything, he might wonder. These negative thoughts could begin to fester.
Instead, urge him to create his own vision board.
Ask him what he wants out of his future. Who does he want to be? Where does he want to work? Where does he want to go? Ask him what else he wants, tangible things like a hoverboard or an iPad. Have him be completely honest because this is his board and these should be things that come from him.
After he identifies what he wants, have him print or cut pictures out of magazines that are representative of his desires and pin them to the board. Then have him place the board somewhere he’ll see it often. As he grows and his priorities change, so can his board.
Tell him how important it is for him to see these dreams and desires every day. Tell him that focusing on achievement means working for it. If he wants to be a lawyer and live in a big house, remind him it’s a step-by-step process that starts today in his high school classes and continues tomorrow.
In the end, the board will be a constant reminder to him that the future is in his hands. His hopes, his dreams and even his smaller wishes are within his grasp given hard-work, determination and focus. For someone who may have felt helpless, this can be an empowering moment.
Lloyd Nelson is the Digital Media Manager of Foster and Adoptive Family Services. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.