Raising kids who are visionaries

By Brittany Gilbert

I don’t know any parent who doesn’t want their children to grow up to be considerate adults who thoughtfully contribute to the world. However, I do believe that it takes intentional effort on parents’ behalf to raise kids who are true visionaries. I’m thankful to know people like this — people who are thoughtful in the way they raise the next generation of world changers. I reached out to my friends Jon and Trina Mitchell and received some great advice. 

“The first thing is that we always encourage our kids to explore and chase after their passions and interests,” Jon said. “We don’t make judgments on how useful or how lucrative it’ll be in their future.” 

I love watching the Mitchell family put this into practice, even recently. Their oldest son is a young teen and has shown an interest in all things horses. He’s been exposed to horses and the rodeo all of his life through extended family, but in the last few years, his passion has grown and his parents have seen it and encouraged him to work hard for this dream. 

“We don’t have to personally identify or have an interest in what our kids are interested in to support and encourage them in it,” Jon said. 

He admits that he and Trina personally know very little about horses and rodeo sports, but they love seeing their son’s passion and initiative towards it, so they encourage him. We probably all know someone who encouraged their child in a sport or other area because it was their passion growing up only to find that their child isn’t interested in it and really would love pursuing a different dream. This is a huge part you can play as parents in your children’s lives. It’s really difficult to contribute to the world in a meaningful way when your heart isn’t really in it. 

“Don’t chase the big paycheck,” Jon said. “Instead, do what inspires you and makes you feel alive, and eventually the money will follow.” 

Jon and Trina own an amazing coffee shop, Zeteo, in Conway, and they tell this advice to their young employees as well. I can say this is true of the Mitchell family, too. They had a dream to start a coffee shop that gives back, and after several years and so much work, they are living that dream with a full realization that the hard work and the dreaming never stops. 

“I heard a minister say something recently that resonated with me when it comes to guiding your kids in their future,” Jon said. “He said, ‘Seek God until you know what he’s called you to do, and prepare to do that.’ How do you know if you’re getting the right education if you don’t know what you’re called to do?”

Encourage your kids to not avoid failure or fear. “Failure isn’t a result or destination as much as it’s input or information on how to do or not do something based on goals,” Jon said. There wouldn’t be so many songs and pieces of advice saying “pick yourself up and try again” if there wasn’t a lot of truth in this statement. Kids who aren’t afraid of failure are likely to become adults who know the value of hard work and how to succeed despite setbacks. 

As parents, we want so much for our kids and their future, but one of the best things we can do is teach them how to pursue their unique interests and dreams through hard work and dedication. Then, allow them to fail so they can learn how to succeed. 

Brittany Gilbert
Latest posts by Brittany Gilbert (see all)