As kids, we have this innate sense that anything is possible, that we can do anything we set our minds to. But then somewhere along the way, whether it be from the deflating words of others, the setbacks we encounter, the acceptance of our weaknesses, or the increasing pressures that come with adulthood, we begin to stop dreaming. And we start wondering, if anything big is possible anymore, doubting our own ability to carry out what our dreams and hearts desire.
My second son, who is four, has a self-confidence that far exceeds his actual abilities. A few weeks ago, after skiing several easy green beginner runs, he says to me on the lift, “Mom, I’m a really good skier. I could ski black diamond (expert) runs if I wanted to.” For a split second, I was tempted to set the record straight and say something along the lines of, “well, I don’t think you’re quite ready for black diamond runs just yet.” After all, that would have been a perfectly true statement. But I didn’t say that because one, there’s no arguing with this kid and two, more importantly, the last thing I want to be in my kids’ lives is a dream crusher. Now, let me clear, I refuse to lie to my kids or blow smoke, making them think they are better at something than they actually are. But the thing is, the “you’re not quite ready yet” statement would have just snuffed out the possibility. I can kick the door of possibility wide open for my kids without falsely inflating their ego.
Of course, there will be a place and a time to gently offer the hard truth of reality, but life tends to do a pretty good job of that on its own. In the event that my first-born son, who has always sat below the 10th percentile in height and weight, at age 16, still has his heart set on being an NBA star, well, then it might be time to have a serious heart to heart. But if at 5 years old, he takes a liking to basketball, loves to play, is motivated to practice, and dreams about playing pro ball, who am I to get in the way? Who am I to ring the loud gong of the impossible? No, life in the form of team tryouts will likely affirm or challenge those dreams. But until it does, I want my kids to believe in the seemingly impossible. After all, I believe in a God of the impossible whose ways are higher than my ways. So, I want to encourage my kids to chase after big goals, to dream of things far bigger than themselves, things beyond their reach.
I’m not talking about a “just follow your heart” approach to life, though I do believe the heart is always worthy of a good listening to. But I think that as adults we tend to swing too far the other way. My husband was telling me that he knows so many men who feel stuck in jobs they hate because they either don’t see any other way or because they don’t think there’s space to dream of any other way. I know of countless women, myself included, who feel the flutterings of a passion or idea, but who all too quickly give ear to their inner critic who says, “that’s silly. You could never make that happen.” They ignore their heart’s pleas because they deem them too impractical or impossible. And maybe they are. Maybe they are. But what if they’re not? And they won’t ever know unless they try.
The people who achieve the seemingly impossible are the ones who keep believing despite the internal or external naysayers who claim it cannot be done. I want to model this for my sons. I want to learn how to dream again, give myself permission to freely entertain God-given passions, dreams, and ideas, and let possibility occupy more space in my heart. So, what does it look like for me as a mom to foster and nurture a little dreamer? I’m not entirely sure, but I’m going to try my darndest to find out. And in the meantime, I’ll start with holding that door of possibility wide open saying, “Black diamonds??? Well, anything is possible and I guess you’ll never know until you try?" So, dream on, little one.