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Bob Goff on how to rediscover God-given dreams, childlike wonder in distracted society

Bob Goff
Bob Goff |

At a time when distractions are at an all-time high and the pandemic has driven much of the joy out of the world, New York Times bestselling author Bob Goff is on a mission to encourage people to rediscover their dreams and a childlike faith. 

In an interview with The Christian Post, the humanitarian and public speaker reflected on how his latest book, Dream Big for Kids, not only teaches kids that their dreams have purpose but reminds adults to remember their ambitions too. 

Goff said he hopes the book, coauthored by his daughter, Lindsey Goff Viducich, sparks some important conversations between parents and their children. Illustrated by Sian James, Dream Big for Kids is the third book that Goff has adapted into a children’s version with his daughter. 

He reflected on how, in Matthew 19:14, Jesus encourages children to come to Him, saying, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” 

“I can just picture Him putting a kid on His knee and to say, ‘I'll tell you the truth, if you want to have a relationship with me, you've got to find that childlike faith again,’” Goff said.

“A childlike faith is the one that Jesus talked about, and what a great way to do that, to sit with your kids and hear about that unicorn that they've been wondering about, and then speak some truth. Don't straighten that out; do your parenting any way you think you ought to. But I would just say, ‘Tell me some more about that. What was the next thing you thought?’ Ask a thousand questions and let them know that home is a safe place, parents are a safe place to ask questions and find lots of love and acceptance.”

“I think it’s just as much for parents as it is for kids as well, to get back to that more childlike faith to just wonder because we stop wondering about things, and I want to return to that beautiful place.”

At a time when the pandemic has stolen the joy out of much of life, Goff hopes his book serves as a “tap on the shoulder, a reminder about, ‘What are your dreams? What are your ambitions?’”

The Undistracted author noted that in John 5 when Jesus asks a disabled man if he wants to get well, the man replies with an excuse, a practice many Christians easily fall into.

“I think what happens is we just need to say, ‘Yes, I know what I want,’” he said. “And the hope with writing Dream Big for Kids, is that parents and kids will be able to have an honest conversation about what do you want? And they may want to fly a rocket-powered unicorn. And if that's what they want, I want to hear all about it. How many rockets and how high? That would be the beautiful conversations that I hope will come from this.”

The "Dream Big Podcast" host stressed that comparison is one of the greatest deterrents to living a full, God-glorifying life and living out one’s dreams: “What we do sometimes is, we try to finish the work God is doing in someone else,” he said. “What I hope for young people is that we'll just say, ‘What is your work? What is it that you want to be when you grow up? What's the beautiful lasting thing you want to leave?’ And to say, 'How can I help you finish that? What's the next courageous step that we can take in that direction?’”

“I think the more that we have these conversations in safe places, that we set ourselves up for success when everybody goes through adolescence, and they're bouncing off the ceilings, I wanted them to know, home and parents equals safe place to have all kinds of conversations.”

A father and grandfather, Goff knows a thing or two about raising children. He expressed concern for the way technology demands the attention of its users, adding: “It wouldn’t be the only time an apple did us in.”

He encouraged parents to model spending intentional time with one another, putting phones aside in a “phone basket,” for example, and engaging in fun activities with the family. 

The things that parents do well, Goff emphasized, will be passed on.

“Instead of setting a rule — 'you can't be on your phone' — set an example,” he said. “We don’t need information or rules. We need examples. … You replace some of the unintentional things around your family with some really neat traditions.”

“We want to give people our full attention; there's something really beautiful about looking people in the eye. In Philippians 2:20, Paul is talking about Timothy; he's a guy who takes a genuine interest in other people's welfare. He doesn’t take a genuine interest by scrolling through Instagram. He takes an interest by having conversations.”

In addition to being a bestselling author, Goff is the founder of Love Does, a nonprofit human rights organization operating in India, Uganda, Nepal, Somalia, Afghanistan, the U.S., Conga and Dominican Republic. 

He encouraged believers to be so confident in the power of the Gospel of Christ that they would love others well instead of approaching with condemnation: “That doesn't mean you're going light on doctrine. It means you're going big on Jesus,” he said. 

“What I want to do is just take that deep dive and just say, ‘Who is it that God really, really made me, with all of my foibles and peccadilloes and insecurities and all,’ that like, ‘Who am I and why do I do what I do?’ And if we can have an understanding of who God made me, then I can live in amazement at who God made you. But I won't live in judgment of who God made you.”

Dream Big for Kids is now available.

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: leah.klett@christianpost.com

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