Everyone needs inspiration from time to time, but none more than our teens. Instead of criticism, our youth need affirmation, inspiration and hope. The 9th annual Disney Dreamers Academy event, which kicked off this past Thur., March 3 through Sun., March 6., has done just that. The academy provides a chance for our young people, ages 13 to 19, to believe and dream big.
Hosted by Steve Harvey and ESSENCE magazine, the amazing, life-changing event each year awards 100 participants and their families an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., for the four-day conference. The event provides motivational speaking—from celebrities to top professionals—and hands-on immersion into the student’s career interests. And I must say there is nothing more inspiring than seeing those with such a large platform pour their wisdom into our teens.
Day one was all about dreaming big and welcoming the class of 2016 to the academy. This first day was simply amazing, and I already knew from that moment, I would be leaving the weekend with several empowering nuggets of wisdom. And perhaps my biggest take away from day one was the reminder that our young people need our love, support and encouragement. And through my experience at the academy, I’d like to share with you these five surefire ways you can inspire your teen.
Provide opportunities for them to shine.
Disney Dreamers Academy provides an opportunity for students to learn how they can harness the power of their dreams. When we give students something to strive for and look forward to, it reminds them there is an expectation of excellence placed upon them. When you have expectations, students will rise to the occasion. We have to get in the habit of providing chances for them to shine.
Share your story.
At the Disney Dreamers Academy weekend, the Dreamers get a chance to hear stories of success. There may be the perception, in a young person’s mind, adults have it easy or simply don’t understand their struggles. When we share how we’ve overcome certain challenges, we inspire them. It’s crucial they hear we, too, have fallen short, had fears or simply doubted ourselves but that we were able to get back up again.
Show them what’s possible.
As I chatted with a few other bloggers during the Disney Dreamers opening day, I realized we don’t often show teens what’s possible. When our young people play video games, watch a television program or are fascinated by certain vehicles, we have to remind them those objects or products are someone’s career. It’s key to remind them they, too, can have those same careers.
Invest in them and believe in them.
During the welcome ceremony Steve Harvey highlighted how much the parents have invested in their children. Because the Dreamers Academy is more than four days, some parents had to take off work—that’s an investment. We must believe in our children, so much so, we are willing to make those sacrifices for their success. Trust me, they value your belief and that investment.
Achieve your own dreams in front of them.
We don’t often connect the dots or see how our success benefits our teens. But they truly do. They need to see us pursuing our passion and living our purpose. When they witness you do it, they believe they can do it too. Show them how to conquer fear and live the life God intended for you to live. Our young people need us. Our belief, inspiration and love will see them through their own fears and assist them in being able to truly dream big.
For more information on the Disney Dreamers Academy or details regarding when and how to apply your child for the next academy, visit disneydreamersacademy.com
To see all the highlights of the past weekend, follow the hashtag #ddadisney on all social media
BMWK, how do you inspire your children?