Helping Children Realize Their Dreams
The dreams of childhood are many and varied. Many times they are born of a fleeting fancy that is silly, funny or impossible. Often, these childish dreams are quickly forgotten.
Other times a dream arises from within. It begins as a fleck of light in the heart, and grows until it is a consuming desire.
This dream is not an idea for that mysterious time 'when I grow up.' It is a dream for now. It is something the child wants to pursue today. It is something the child will fight for, work for and save for. These are the dreams a parent needs to get behind and help to grow.
Dreams of the Heart
When a dream is born in the heart, I believe it should be nurtured, explored and expounded on by both parent and child. Without exploration, the dream cannot be known or realized. A child who has a dream may not have the ability to explore the dream, or even the full capacity to express their desire, that is why an adult must be involved.
Dreams of the heart involve doing. They are something that must be done, and that by the child. These dreams are something that involve the body, mind and soul.
Using my Dream
What was Your Dream?
Think back to your childhood. What was your dream? Did you achieve it? Was it worth pursuing, even if it doesn't serve you today? If you didn't achieve it, does that still bother you?
When I was four years old, I sat under the dinning room table one day, planning out my life. Who I would be when I grew up. From those plans sprouted many dreams. One of the those dreams was to learn to sew.
While learning to sew may not seem very spectacular, I knew what I wanted, and pursued it by every means available. I talked one of my grandmas into teaching me how to crochet, while the other one showed me how to embroider. Soon I was stitching doll clothes together by hand. By the time I was seven years old, I was fairly proficient in most sewing related crafts. By high school, I made 90% of my clothing, plus quilts and gifts. Even now, there is not much I cannot do, though sewing is no longer a burning desire.
My sister wanted to be a writer. She dictated her first story to mom when she was three years old. By age eleven, she had written a short story that involved more than a years research, for the sake of accuracy.
My best friend wanted to be a lifeguard. She achieved this dream by early high school, and was able to fully enjoy the realization of it for several years, before heading off to college.
Pursuing His Dream
Our Children's Dreams
When our children express and interest in something we watch and wait. There is no telling whether the interest will grow into a dream or fade into obscurity. We watch for signs that it has grown, in their play, their speech and in their actions. When we see them working towards an interest, investing their time and energy to learn, we step up beside them and offer assistance when needed. It is their dream to dream, but our job to provide information. It is our job to teach skills, or find teachers for them.
Just today, my toddler has made it known to me that he wants to play the violin. Having heard of great composers, who began their journey at the tender age of two, I sat down with him, and let him feel the violin play. He is not ready for lessons, and won't be for awhile. However, he is ready for encouragement. After all, if mom believes he can, he won't have any reason to doubt his ability.
Encouraging me, even when they didn't understand my passion, was one of the greatest gifts my parents gave me. It is a gift all children need.
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