Friday, 10 December 2010

Teaching Our Children To Have The Courage To Dream


Very few people have the courage to live life to its fullest. Very few people are willing to take risks in life. Very few people are actively striving to reach for the dreams that they hold deep in their hearts. But there are a few. What is it, exactly, that those few have that makes them different from the rest? What makes them keep trying? What keeps them from settling for less like so many other people do? And if you had to choose whether or not your child would be the type to sit back and settle in life for whatever he was given or would be the type to reach out and take few risks and grab for his dream, which would you choose?

Most of us would say that we want our children to dream and to believe that they can make those dreams come true. Most of us want our children to reach for their dreams. Most of us want our children to set themselves goals and then work towards making those goals a reality. But if we are not living our dream, how are we supposed to teach our children the importance of living their dreams? If we have given up on our dreams, how are we supposed to teach our children not to give up on theirs?

The best way we can teach our children to reach for their dreams, to make goals and achieve them, is by doing so ourselves. Dreams don’t always have to be about careers. Some dreams are very different from that. And how we, as parents, achieve them, teaches our children some important lessons about life.

An overweight mother might dream of losing weight. By taking steps toward being healthier and losing the weight, she would show her child the importance of setting goals and reaching them. If she loses the weight in an unhealthy manner, the weight loss is not likely to be a lasting one, and the child will only learn to go for the quick and easy route or that reaching goals isn’t really all that likely or lasting. But if the mother loses the weight by eating healthily and adding in some moderate exercise to her daily routine, her weight loss will be healthier and more lasting. From this, her child will learn that setting goals can be productive and that it takes time, effort and commitment to meet those goals.

A hard working dad might hate his 9 to 5 job. He might have dreamed about writing a novel ever since he was a child. By continuing to work at his 9 to 5 job, without giving any outlet to his writing dream, he is showing his daughter that it’s better to take what you’re given and accept your lot in life. He will teach her to settle. But if, on the weekends, he writes short stories for magazines and writes a bit more of his novel, he is showing her that it is important not to give up on your dreams. If he actively researches what it will take to find an editor and literary agent, joins writing clubs and continues feeding his dream of writing by taking positive steps towards it, he teaches his daughter that it is worth the effort to work towards your dreams.

A hardworking mom might be unhappy in her current position at work. She might dream of moving higher up the ladder in her profession, but she lacks the education required to do so. If she just accepts that this is as good as it can be for her, then she teaches her child to settle. She teaches her child to give up. But if instead, she starts taking some night courses that will help her eventually get the required education that she needs in order to get a promotion, then her son sees a better example. Her son sees her not giving up. Her child will learn that education is important and that it is important to obtain whatever learning is needed for reaching our dreams.

A dad might have lost his job and be looking for a new one. He might let himself get depressed and mope about the loss of his job. From this, his child would learn about self-pity. If instead, the dad never loses faith in himself and never loses the belief that he will find another job, so he keeps putting himself out there for interviews, then his child learns that it is important to believe in yourself if you want to reach your dreams.

These are just random examples of how people raising families can not just reach for their own dreams but can also be an example of doing so to their children, but there are many different scenarios that will still teach our children to value goal-setting. If we want our children to believe that they can attain their dreams, we have to believe it for ourselves. Children learn from us, not just from what we say but from what we do.

What is it that makes those few people with the courage to take risks and reach for their dreams different from the rest? What is it that makes them keep working towards their dreams? What is it that makes them keep taking step after step towards reaching their dreams no matter what obstacles stand in their way? It’s actually quite simple. They don’t give up. No matter what stands in their way or what seems to be making the task seem impossible, they keep working for it. They believe in themselves and in their dreams. They ignore the people who tell them it can’t be done. They think positively about the outcome of all of their work. They know in their hearts that they will obtain their dreams. They picture themselves reaching their goals. And we have to believe it for ourselves too, if we want to teach it to our children.