In a world where YouTube celebrities are our idols and video games have replaced outdoor activities (don't get me wrong: both are great to a certain extent and in moderation!), how can we encourage young children and teenagers to actually live life to the fullest? Social media has created a massive surge in feelings of isolation and loneliness, we are more disconnected than ever before. How can we inspire our kids, and ourselves for that matter, to connect truly, deeply, and in meaningful ways with themselves and others?
The Carmouche family reminded me of the power of teamwork and the impact it had on my life. Being on a sports team or having extracurricular activities that I got to choose for myself as a teenager enabled me to develop a strong sense of work ethics: a value that has undeniably brought me to where I am today. I can see this in both Kannon (12) and Kholton (7), as well as a deeply rooted respect for and kindness toward others. You know how you can see kindness in someone's eyes? Yeah, it was present there in each member of the Carmouche family. Though I'm not certain how or when exactly this manifested in their lives, I could feel it. It felt like Kendra and I understood each other, and I wonder if this is something that was passed down from their parents, and their grandparents before. Perhaps it was something they had to deliberately develop despite adversity. Likely a combination of both. Every family is special, but the Carmouche family is special to me because of their adamant desire to raise their boys to be advocates for themselves and others. I have nothing but huge respect and love for Kendra, Kendell, Kannon, Kholton, and even their 2 year old German Shepherd, Whiskey, who is a fabulous portrait sitter and has several tricks up his sleeve. I'm well aware that we are talking big picture here, and most days as parents it's hard enough to make sure homework gets done and everyone showers on a regular basis. So I want to leave you with Kendra's advice:
"Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to be perfect, sometimes being present it is all that is needed. [Our kids] think we’re great already, we just need to show up and keep one foot in front of the other." - Kendra Carmouche
The My Wish for You Campaign
Parents. Most days we simply do the best we can; wake up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other. Aiming to be completely fearless in the face of change, like the Carmouche family.
Other days, we make a conscious effort to share the pieces of wisdom we have gained over our years. Each having unique wishes for the future of our developing young ones, whether to thrive in their careers or simply grow into the strong, kind adults of which the world desperately needs more.
During a time in our society where life is moving at an accelerated pace, I'm on a mission to help families (with kids ages 11-16) slow down, if even for a moment, and think about:
What significant messages do we want to impart before our kids are no longer kids, suddenly navigating the world independently? The kind of wisdom that will certainly outlive us. Here is what that looks like for these families. What does that look like for your family?
If you are a family with kids ages 11-16, I would LOVE for you to apply for the My Wish for You Campaign. In exchange for sharing your wisdom you will receive a complimentary portrait session (and, yes, dogs are family too!) and your favorite image as a thank you for participating. Click the button below to learn more.