Dream Big! Then Commit to See It Through

TJ FV 2023 Banner

His life hasn’t been a cakewalk. His parents divorced when he was young, and his mother was left to raise three boys on her own. Constant struggle surrounded the family, with everything from unpaid electric bills to living in the backyard shed of a family friend.

But that didn’t kill the ambition, the drive or the dreams that lived inside of Jonathon Prince. He graduated from high school and achieved his goal of attending Clark Atlanta University. But unfortunately, the trouble followed him there, too. At 17 years old, Jonathon found himself homeless after being robbed at gunpoint and being evicted from his apartment. But he didn’t even allow that to stop him. He eventually graduated and went on to become successful in his chosen career of television and film.

Click here for the latest episode of “Mamas Gone Wild” with Nikki Woods and Mary Flowers Boyce.

Click here to hear Nikki Woods’ weekly “What in the Weekend?” report.

Fast forward to the present: Jonathon has left the world of entertainment behind and has become a celebrated runner and philanthropist. He has run over 10,000 miles in support of a cause or ideal and raised more than $100,000. He calls himself a “athle-vist” – a combination of athlete and activist – inspiring hope and raising awareness for his philanthropic endeavors.

Jonathon plans on leaving the world behind to live his next big dream, which is to run a mile – on the moon!

Talk about dreaming BIG.

I got a chance to talk to Jonathon about his past and how it has impacted his present, but also his future goals and how he always shoots for the moon.

Jonathon says that he has always been a big dreamer. But where does that start?

I believe that children learn what’s possible in life from what they see around them. If all they see every day is their mother and father getting up, going to work, coming home, cooking dinner, watching TV and going to bed, then how will that inspire them to dream of anything more for themselves?

I found the following steps to encourage your kids to dream big and help them create a roadmap to achieve those dreams. I use them with my children and, over time, have tweaked them based on what seems to have been effective – or not so much.

Dreaming the Dream (Getting Their Heads in the Game)

It all starts in the mind. Encourage your children to dream big. Lend them an ear. Listen to their outrageous ideas. Remember, every great achievement began in the mind of one person because they dared to dream and believe that it was possible. Help them with their creativity. Ask them to write it down on paper or draw it out. The more they dream, the more that it is possible for them to achieve.

Believing the Dream (We Got You!)

Don’t just listen to the dreams of your children. Believe in them, and help them have faith in their dreams too! Let them know it doesn’t matter if their dreams are seemingly beyond their capabilities because dreams are supposed to be big. If they are focused, work hard and are determined to achieve what they set out for, then nothing is impossible. Ask them to own their dreams and know that the first step to achieving them is believing in them.

Seeing/Living the Dream (Picture This!)

Encourage your children to live their dream. Great achievers have a habit. They “see” things. They picture themselves walking around their new office in their new $25 million corporate headquarters, even while they are sitting on a folding chair in their current garage “headquarters.” It’s perfectly fine if the kids act like a doctor (uh, that’s different than “playing” doctor) or a policeman or fireman. The more they live and see their dream, the more they will experience it in their mind, the more it will get hard wired in their subconscious. Help them start taking steps towards their dream by taking a class, showing them inspiring documentaries, or even just volunteering in the field in which they want to enter.

Planning the Dream (Step It Up!)

Explain to your children that every dream must take the form of a plan. Planning is like making a small step which will take them closer to their dream. One step at a time. If they want to be a football player, then ask them what they think they need to do in order to become one. Guide them with their answers. A simple plan for a nine-year-old would be to make sure he/she is eating right, attending school regularly to make sure their grades don’t suffer and starting a workout program appropriate for their age. Making a simple plan is more than enough to hardwire the concept in their brain.

Working The Dream (Doing the Darn Thing)

Wouldn’t life be grand if we could quit before this step! We could just imagine it, and then it would happen! Unfortunately, the greatest things in our life often come from continuous effort. Your children need to be given good support examples to make sure they get a good grasp of this point. While the rest of the world is sitting on their couch watching TV, achievers are working on their goal – achieving their dream. There is an equation that is easy to understand and should do the work. Explain to your child the following: Your short-term tasks, multiplied by time, equal your long-term accomplishments. If you work on it each day, eventually you will achieve your dream. Simple!

Enjoying The Dream (Treat Yourself!)

All the hard work is of no use if we don’t know how to enjoy our accomplishments. Children need to learn how to celebrate! Let them know that when they reach their goal and they are living their dream, they should be sure to enjoy it . More importantly, they should enjoy the journey too.

Then go back to number one. And dream a little bigger this time!

Have you asked your children about their dreams lately?

Nikki Woods is senior producer of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.” The author of “Easier Said Than Done,” the Dallas-based Woods is currently working on her second and third novels. You can friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter: @nikkiwoods.