We like to tell our kids to dream big, yet when they do we often poop all over it. Think about it. When a kid older than ten shares an outside-the-box dream, how many parents around the world have said things like: ‘What a crazy idea!’, ‘How will you earn a living?’, And/or some variation of: ‘Over my dead body!’
Maybe we tell ourselves we’re just trying to save our kids from soul-crushing disappointments. Maybe our own disappointments have made it too painful to believe in dreams. Maybe, at this point, all we believe in is a life that tramples people with stars in their eyes.
Recently, I spoke with a woman whose parents so regularly invalidated her goals she saw them as ‘dream stealers’. At age 13 she stopped talking to them about anything she wanted to accomplish in life.
That conversation got me thinking about generations who’ve had dreams stolen by well-meaning parents and teachers believing these children needed a strong dose of reality.
Let’s talk about reality for a second. Parents must educate their kids when it comes to the realities of fire, traffic, sharp objects, and overdue library books. But a kid pursuing a dream? On the road to wherever, life will provide plenty of reality without our help.
Our job is to open doors and windows for our children so they can open their minds. Our job is to expose them to limitless possibilities so they’ll fashion a vision of their own future. No one can foretell where or how far a child may go. Don’t even try. Relax. Celebrate your children’s dreams. They may get you dreaming again.
Annie Fox, MEd is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.