Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dear Sugar: To Our Babies---Don't Defer Dreams

Dear Sugar,

I first remember reading this Langston Hughes poem in high school, and it has stayed with me ever since.

There are many, many limits that others attempt to put on our children.   This is done out of ignorance and fear.   It stems from hundreds or years of oppression and privilege and evil.  

Yet, I strongly believe that parents have a lot of power.  We can raise confident, resilient, empowered children, children who don't defer dreams.  Children who live their life's purpose, accomplish their goals, discover their dreams.

I think there are practical ways we can do this:

1:  Model the behavior we want emulated.  Are you one of those people who has always wanted to do X, yet you've never done it?   What is your dream?  Start a business?  Learn to swim?  Take a weekend all to yourself?  Whatever it is, no matter how big, or small, or "silly" it seems, how can you turn your dream into a reality so that your children learn that dreams are for DOING?

2:  Talk to your kids about their dreams, and then find role models in that general field.  Do research, read books, talk about the dreams and who has accomplished similar dreams and how.  

3:  Discuss what it takes to accomplish a dream:  determination, commitment, and confidence.  There are many reasons people don't just GO FOR IT---most often due to fear, lack of commitment, and lack of confidence.   Sometimes the most exciting things in life are the most scary, but you'll be there to support and encourage your child.  Work on the skills needed (determination and commitment) in other (smaller) areas in life, so when it comes to dreams, there's a skill set already in place!

4:  Talk about consequences, positive and negative.  What are the consequences of not going for that dream?  What about consequences to go for the dream?   Note that consequences aren't always negative.   The Hughes poem is a great way to start this discussion.

5:  Surround your family with do-ers!   Whatever a person's dreams are, find those people who are relentlessly pursuing their dreams and hang out with them.   It will inspire you and your kiddo!  

I cannot tell you how many times I've been approached by someone who says they've "always wanted to write a book" (and have told me this multiple times over a span of several years) and simply do not do it.   These individuals seem remorseful.  Always yearning.  And always a bit disappointed.  

Don't let your dreams EXPLODE or FESTER or STINK.

If something is stirring in your heart (and in your child's heart), why isn't today the day you say YES and take that first step to DOING?

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