Have you ever heard of the "fleas in a jar" experiment?
It goes like this: A group of fleas are put inside of a jar and then the lid is placed firmly on the jar. Eventually, the fleas learn to never jump higher than the height of the lid.
The most fascinating part? Even when the lid was removed, the fleas will never jump out of the jar. They continue to believe in the self-imposed limit, even when it is not there at all.
Even worse, the fleas’ offspring learn this behavior and will never attempt to jump higher than what their parents teach them.
See it for yourself:
This is what we do to our children when we pass down our own self-limiting beliefs. These perceived limitations can become imprinted on their subconscious minds for the rest of their lives.
Your children are special and capable of miraculous things. We all are, in fact. God made us that way. Do not be the one who puts a lid on their jar.
I can’t tell you how many parents I’ve overheard squashing their children’s hopes and dreams and replacing them with what they think is “realistic.” In one instance, I heard a father tell his daughter that the school she wanted to attend was too hard to get into and she should aim lower.
What a horrible message to send to a kid. There is never any shame in failing, but there certainly is shame in not trying at all.
Kids are supposed to dream big; even unrealistically. Let them.
Your son wants to become the President? Great. Show him the path and how much work it will take. Your daughter wants to cure cancer? Awesome. Get excited and talk about the education and training she’ll need and all the people she can help.
It’s not about whether or not you think the goals are realistic. It’s about letting them pursue them. They may fail. That’s OK. There’s a lesson in failure.
But then again… what if they succeed?