When you think about a recipe for your child's success I am sure there are many ingredients listed in your mind: get a good education, get involved, be around positive, influential people, etc. One of the most important things you can give your child to help him reach his goals is enthusiasm.
Nobody ever succeeded at something by being apathetic about it. Yes it's true that opportunities sometimes just come your way, but more often than not we have to go looking for opportunity. If your child doesn't work hard at something that they want, they are never going to get it. You and they have to be proactive in order for them to achieve success.
It's easy to be enthusiastic about something you love. If your child loves playing soccer, chances are that he or she will show a lot of enthusiasm for it. This means that they will try extra hard to make the team, they'll work harder at practice to be a better player, and they're work with others to be a better teammate.
What's difficult about enthusiasm is maintaining it. You're child might work extra hard to get on the soccer team, but how will he feel mid-season after a couple of losses or disappointments? Is it okay to let him give up because he finds it more difficult than he used to or than he thought it would be?
Of course not! No matter how hard something gets it's important to teach your children to work through their commitments. If at the end of the season he decides soccer isn't for him anymore, fine, but letting him quit just because something is difficult isn't going to help him succeed.
Like most children involved in activities, Kathryn Sabillon's son Mario didn't always feel like making it to karate class at the end of a long day at school. By helping Mario stick to his commitment to come to karate class, she renewed his enthusiasm for karate so that he can one day reach his goal of black belt.
"Mario enjoys and looks forward to every class," she said. "Coming to class makes him happy and he now knows what days are karate days. Also not letting him miss classes teaches him to keep moving forward."
One thing you can do to help your child maintain enthusiasm is help him to set smaller goals on the way to a large goal, that way you have something to celebrate on the way and he won't get discouraged if he doesn't accomplish a goal right away. For example, if your child's dream is to be a scientist, a smaller goal might be entering the science fair or improving his science grade.
You can also encourage your child's enthusiasm for something by participating with them. For example, buying the aspiring scientist a chemistry set for Christmas or even helping him with simple experiments at home will make it fun. Playing catch with your child can help him stay excited about baseball even in the off-season. Whatever it is your child is interested in, he will be more excited about it knowing that you are showing and interest in what he likes.
Enthusiasm is so important to your child's success because it is what will help him overcome the inevitable obstacles that will stand between him and his dream. He has to be willing to work hard for what he wants, something that will come a lot easier if he has the right enthusiasm for it. Staying enthusiastic about what he loves will help him achieve his full potential.