As kids begin to get older and life starts to rear its ugly head, many children lose focus and forget the things they really want. They dreamed of being brave astronauts in space, talented actors on the big screen, amazing athletes scoring the winning point or daring policemen that save people. All these children really got was the reality that is life. While many people consider many of these dreams unrealistic, there should be nothing wrong with letting a child believe they can be anything they want to be.
When we are young, our dreams and desires are not usually taken seriously. We are told we can be anything we want to be. As soon we are old enough to comprehend the true workings of life, we are forced to start studying for ridiculous tests that determine your future. What if kids were told yes instead of no? Would Simone Biles or Michael Phelps have won those gold medals at the Olympics? Would Robin Williams or Meryl Streep have made it to the red carpet?
Even I went through that dreamer stage. There were days I dreamed I’d be the next American Idol and become a pop star. Like many children, I realized that wasn’t going to be possible. I was able to find something else that I loved just as much: writing. When I was making the decision on what to major in, I looked at journalism and writing first. Even these much more realistic goals were shot down by so many people. Then, I switched to English which could encompass all of it.
After that choice, I still had people who questioned me. “If you’re not teaching, what do you want to do?” I’d get this question a lot with weary looks. As I finally told them my plans, my dreams, they’d still have that ‘you’re going to be screwed’ look.
One of my best friends is majoring in music. “Be prepared to live on the street.”
What about any degree in the fine arts? “Hope you love ramen!”
Parents wish that their children will have successful futures and make money. In our society, the only way people believe this can be done is by going to college and majoring in something that is deemed practical. It would take decades to flip the switch and change these old beliefs. But what can we do now?
Let kids dream. Encourage them to work hard. If your kid wants to be the next Derek Jeter, then sign him or her up for tee-ball. If the kid changes their mind, then find something else they love. Don’t push them towards a lifetime of unhappiness. If your kid fails, don’t tell them “I told you so.” Pick them back up and tell them to try again.
America has a reputation of being the country for dreamers, yet we are constantly undermining the dreams of our future generation. When are we going to learn that it’s not money that makes the perfect life, but joy and love? Maybe dreaming doesn’t have to be just for kids. Why can’t adults go back and dream again?
Why can’t we all work hard to make our dream come true?