Before the birth of my daughter, my husband and I had one of the thousands of discussions that I’d say all couples have prior to having children (or in those early days of infancy) about how we would parent and live as a family. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we claimed the adage “We won’t be like our parents!” because there are many things about both sets of our upbringings that were positive influences in our lives.
One thing we were very clear about–we were not going to do her dreaming for her (and that of course stands for all of our children)! We want her to try things and explore her imagination and pursue her dreams no matter how big or small they may be. Secondly–we want her to know she is beautifully and wonderfully made and a very very unique creature…very much HER OWN person. While she may have similar physical, intellectual, or temperamental similarities to family members, this does not make her a carbon copy of that person and destined to follow the same path step for step.
When I was growing up..my dreams included becoming a Broadway actress or a professional fast-pitch softball player. Now while one is slightly more in reach than the other (though there is now a very small pro-softball organization), they were very much my dreams no matter how silly or unreachable someone may have believed they were. The truth is, my dream of acting on stage has never fully dwindled and the fact that I was never allowed to pursue it to the fullest potential has left me in adulthood wondering “what-if” and longing for a life I never got to lead. I think this is an unhealthy way to carry on and its something I am trying to work through but it has me considering how to help my own children make wise choices in the pursuit of their own dreams.
Now obviously, you can’t do it all, all the time! I think my job as a parent is not to tell them what they should and should not participate in as a novice but instead help them to participate and learn their new skill and encourage refinement…push them forward when the going gets tough, help with practice, and support them if a decision to move away from that particular event/game/skill/dream turns out to not be a good fit.