H. S. Lewis - Your Sons and Daughters - Children have ambitions
A great many of us overlook the fact that children have ambitions. Of course, we think that it is futile to talk to children of six, seven, or eight years of age, or even when they are twelve or fourteen years of age, and ask them in a serious way as to their ambitions for the future.
It is thought that the child mind is not capable of judging accurately in this regard, but I have found that the average child between the ages of eight and fourteen is always interested in discussing its possible future in terms of greatness, goodness, outstanding success, and personal power.
Even the average boy or girl who is not ready or is unqualified to say what line of vocation or avocation may appeal to him in the future is nevertheless ready to assert that he wants to be an outstanding character--one who will be admired and respected by others.
Here is where parents can make a strong appeal to the imagination and inner ambitions of their child. To explain to a child that by following certain lines of study or thinking it can assure itself of better health, of mastership in its studies without great effort, and also bring into its future life the love, admiration, and respect of adults, always makes an appeal to the child mind.
When in addition to this sort of argument, the child is told how special studies will enable him to be an outstanding character among other children and will make the teachers at school and the pupils around him respect and admire him, the child mind instantly builds up an ideal of personal power that appeals to the imagination and to his unborn capabilities.
It is possible to begin with children even as young as one year of age. We should keep in mind, first of all, that the psychic faculties of a child are highly developed, and, second, that in the earliest years of child life the materialistic viewpoint of life has not accomplished its damaging work. In fact, the child mind is naturally impressed by psychic influences, and it is safe to say that between the ages of one and five the average boy or girl sees more and hears more of an interesting and fascinating nature through its psychic faculties than it sees or hears through its material, objective faculties.