• Cindy manko

Let your kid be a dreamer:

Let him have cherished aspirations, ambitions, or ideals.

I was recently asked what my dreams were when I were a kid. I froze, and seriously had a hard time thinking of any of the dreams I had. I said I wasn’t much of a dreamer, more of a live in the moment kind of girl. But, now that I have had time to really think about it I had lots of dreams. Some were doable, some not so much. Some came true, some did not. So why couldn’t I think of what my dreams were in that moment on the spot? I lived a happy life. I had a mom and dad that raised me to see that my happiness was my responsibility and happiness was a choice. Maybe, that is why I didn’t feel like a dreamer because my life felt like a dream life. But there are other things that helped me live a dream life. It wasn’t making it to the olympics or going to college to become a doctor and making lots of money. And it certainly wasn’t because I was given everything I wanted whenever I wanted it. My dream life happened because the ideas I had were entertained, and questions I had were answered by me. If I had an outlandish idea, my dad didn’t say “that’s ridiculous, that will never happen” he simply just asked me “so, how will that happen?” He lead me down my own realizations giving me proactive things to do or to think about. So he allowed me to be a dreamer and then asked me to take action on them.

I remember in the throws of being a State Champion in gymnastics, I was dreaming of the Olympics. It really was a real dream with real possibility. Being an Olympics gymnast wasn’t a pipe dream in my eyes. It was a real possibility that I went after, but in the end realized I didn’t want to sacrifice a normal childhood to live that dream. I never think to myself, “man, that was a dumb idea”, instead I think, “man, I came way closer than many and that was part of my journey that made me tenacious and confident.” You see, going after dreams gives us purpose. Sometimes our dreams are realistic and sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes dreams come true and sometimes they don’t. But either way dreams define us.

Are you that parent that defines your own child’s dreams? Do you get in the way of their own journey? You do realize that when they become adults they are to take on their own life, right? So why are you deciding for them what their dreams are? I know, I know! You know better because of the experience you have had. But your experience isn’t their experience! Your idea of the perfect life is your idea! Not theirs. Of course you are not leading them to dumpster diving and sleeping on the street, but are you leading them to a life of regret and bitterness because you chose for your child and they now have to live the life that you want for them. It’s time to take a deep breath and evaluate your role in your child’s decision making. Are you letting your child entertain ideas, no matter how ridiculous they are? Are giving them practice at testing out their hypothesis? Are you hiding behind the fear that your child will fail and that is a direct reflection of yourself as a parent? This isn’t about you, mom and dad. It’s about raising an independent thinker, a problem solver, and survivor!

No dream is stupid. Stupid is the dreamer who listens to all the nay-sayers and lets them decide for them their destiny. Stupid is the parent who tells their kid that dreaming is for losers, because it is every successful businessman, athlete, astronaut, record breaker, who dared to dream! Don’t be that parent that gets in the way of your child’s success. Success, no matter how big or small, starts with a dream, is built on belief, and achieved because someone went after the dream!

Allowing your kid to dream doesn’t mean you are being an irresponsible parent, it’s quite the opposite. You are giving your child the ability to act on thoughts, and go after things. The more they go after their dreams, the more they will hone in on their strengths. The more they learn what it is to fight for what they believe the more they will shift their dreams and following a true and clear path that they will take responsibility for. Be that parent that picks up a kid full of sorrow because his dreams were crushed. Help him brush off the dirt and set forth in chasing new dreams.

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