Ever notice when a kid has a clear, straight path in front of them, they run!? Fast as they can as if they have been given clearance on an airport runway to take off for flight. There is never a thought that some obstacle may fall into their path. They run with reckless, carefree abandon. The joy they experience in that freedom, while gaining speed, lingers even after they encounter the end of their track.
“WOW! Did you see how fast I can run!?” They will joyously exclaim their personal victory for all to hear.
Children set no limits on themselves during this brief moment of spontaneous sprinting. They are intensely focused on achieving the greatness they have created in their minds. Their imagination allows them to take flight and they soar through the clouds of possibility.
As surrounding witnesses, adults and parents, we encourage their dream of reaching immeasurable speed. We share in their joy and reassure them that they are amazing, and yes, in fact, we have never seen anyone run so incredibly fast! Our smiles are genuine and hearts are lightened as we are reminded of the innocence and remarkable belief that children are filled with.
We encourage our children that they can do anything, be anything, they want. We declare that if they can dream it, they can do it.
“Of course you can be an astronaut and fly to the moon!”
“Yes, you’re a beautiful dancer. I know you can be a dancer when you grow up!”
“You want to be a spy!? You can be the greatest spy in the world!”
Then, we parents, the adults that our children believe with blind faith, make liars out of ourselves. We kill the dreams and the imagination of our youth. We guide our children into what we know as reality. However, whose reality do we determine is best for them? Our own?
“It takes a lot of hard work to become an astronaut, little Johnny. Why don’t you think about something more realistic?” This is the reality of the parent who would not work hard himself or herself to achieve the goal of being an astronaut.
“You really can’t make any money being a dancer. Why don’t you do something you can use in the real world?” This is the reality of the parent whose value and sense of accomplishment is found in dollar signs, not self-worth.
“Spy? You cannot be a spy! You need to go to college and get a ‘real’ job.” This is the reality of the parent who once had their dreams erased because they too were not realistic.
When did we lose sight of that clear path to dream and to run, and cross over into the world of so-called reality? Who instructed us to define reality as need to stop imagining greatness for ourselves? Suddenly, we begin to notice the obstacles to our right and left as we run down that clear path. We lose focus. We no longer take flight and soar through the clouds of possibility.
Encourage your children to dream big by refocusing on and passionately pursuing yours. Write your dreams on paper. It is when you write them out that they become goals, and goals are achievable. Your window of opportunity to become an astronaut may have passed; however, your ability to become wildly successful has not. What do you dream now?
Perhaps you have a heart to help people in need and desire to start a non-profit company. On the other hand, maybe you want to write a great novel and make a bestseller list. Your dream may have changed from the time you were a child, but dreams still come true.
The runway is before you. Do not look to the right or left for obstacles that may fall in you path, but remain intensely focused. With childlike enthusiasm, take the first step, build momentum, and experience the freedom of achieving your dreams.
Share your thoughts and leave a comment… What do you dream now? What are your goals and how do you plan to achieve them?