Never was this more evident than last week when I visited several 3rd and 4th grade kids in Everett to talk about going to college.
One of my favorite moments that day was when I asked what they wanted to be when they grew up and nearly every child darted their hand up to answer the question.
The wonder and excitement on their faces as they told me their dream “I want to be….a doctor, teacher, pilot, chef, writer, architect, engineer, astronaut…” and so much more. I realized as I listened to each one speak up, that their dreams are just beginning and as adults we need to keep the dream alive with them and not just for them. So how do we do that?
Thinking back when my children were this age and where they are now as young adults I can appreciate how hard this is because we don’t always see those dreams as a real possibility. What clouds our vision when theirs is so clear? What dampers our spirit of enthusiasm when they don’t see any barriers? It isn’t just one thing that erases the lines of that carefully detailed dream of our youth, but rather many little experiences along the way. But now it’s about them and not us so let’s explore some ways to help your children’s dreams turn into realities:
1) If you can imagine it, you can become it. An article in 2013 by the Huffington Post stated that positive thoughts can actually create real value in your life and help you build skills that last much longer than a smile. Speaking positively with our children (and grandchildren) from the time they are infants will help us develop the skills to speak with encouragement. Even if their dreams change they will always know you are supporting them.
2) Be the example. I don’t remember learning about goal setting skills until my first clerical job and it was because I didn’t want to forget what I needed to do. Set goals for yourself and let your kids see you work toward them. Again, even if your goals change along the way (and that’s okay), just keep setting them so they see how that pays off.
3) Play! Our children’s first learning experiences come from playing so let them explore occupations through acting. I take my grandson Dante to our community children’s museum and they have a play stage and costumes which he puts on to act out different characters. On the ride home we often talk about who he played that day. As children get older they can start reading and researching occupations that interest them to learn what it will require academically, financially and mentally to achieve that dream and then encourage them to share what they learn with you.
As I left the elementary school that day one little girl’s comment lingered in my mind and inspired me to write this post. She said “I want to be the first women President!”
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney
Written by Jacquelyne Ferrado