I am the dad of three really good, sweet, kids. They are each unique and a joy. I really do believe in them and the possibilities for their lives in so many ways.
Two of my three are at the age where they are painting the pictures in their minds of “what could be” one day when they are grown. My daughter, who is 13, is creative. She sings, she paints, she draws, she acts, she plays the ukulele. I know she pictures herself performing on the “big stage” in some way. The other day I asked all three of my kids what they dreamed of doing one day. Her answer, “be an actor in a Disney show.” I love that dream!
My oldest son will turn 11 soon. When I asked him what he dreamed of doing one day, he had two answers. His biggest dream is to play basketball in the NBA. His second dream is to work for LEGO as a LEGO designer.
My youngest son is 5. When I asked him what he wanted be when he grew up he said, “Be like Emmet in the LEGO movie, play basketball, play football, play baseball, and drive a rocket-ship.” I am good with those.
I love the big dreams of my kids. Their dreams are so pure, exciting, and realistic in their minds.
As their dad, I want them to pursue their dreams. I don’t want to push them into pursuing what I think should be their dreams. I also know that odds are stacked against them in some of their dreams.
So what do I do? How do I encouraging them without burdening them? How do I help them hold on to their dreams and teach them about the hard work it takes to make them a reality? How do I help them enjoy what they are doing and not put pressure on them to be the greatest in the world? How do I make sure I am not just trying to vicariously live out my dreams through them?
Then, how do I help them when their dreams may start to fade into the abyss of reality? As a dreamer myself, I am really not a fan of reality sometimes.
I don’t have an answer. I don’t have “5 ways to make them better”, “3 things to always do to help my kids be successful”, or “The 1 secret to helping them get there.”
So for now I have just decided to dream with them. Or as Steven Tyler would say “Dream on!” There is enough reality all day every day. They will do their school work. We will walk through the ups and downs of growing up. We will deal with the realities of the moment. I am not going to fill their egos with unrealistic thoughts of guaranteed success. But, I want them to have the freedom to dream. I want them to dream. They need to dream. We can come up with a “backup plan” later.
I want to imagine the amazing performance or game winning shot with them. I want to talk about how awesome it could be. I want to toss in a poke and prod of “it takes commitment and hard work”. I want to help them find opportunities to explore their dreams. I want to make sure they know that I love watching them pursue their dreams. I want Emily to know that I love to watch her act, hear her sing and play. I want James to know that I love to watch him drive to the basket. I want to re-live his “highlights” with him. I want Andy to know that flying a rocket-ship would be AWESOME!
I want to make sure they know that I believe in them and will do anything for them along the way.
Above all though, I want them to know that it is not what they do, whether they are successful or not, that determines their value or my love for them. Their value is set for all eternity by Truth. Their value is set in the eternal reality that they are loved by God. That is not a dream they have to pursue. That is the reality they live in now and forever.
All that to say, I just want to love them well on the road to their dreams or to wherever life may take them.