Childhood Dreams

┬áMost children have the power to dream. And some of those dreams are pretty elaborate. Dreams of who they are, and of who they want to be when they’re older.

Some are fortunate enough to have parents or others who encourage those dreams, no matter how improbable they seem. (How many people actually get to slay real dragons?) But many times, well-meaning adults tell children, “That’s just a silly dream. You can’t really become that. Why don’t you be a (fill in the blank) instead?”

In my opinion, dreaming is a way for children to explore the world. Having daydreams about their future lives helps them learn to believe in themselves and in the probable and improbable. So what if dragons don’t really exist? A child who wants to slay dragons might become an adult who, as a lawyer, helps imprison criminals who hurt children. Not a literal slaying of a dragon, but definitely the ending of something harmful.

Some of the dreams that adults say are too unrealistic are completely realistic with work and belief. Becoming an actor, a musician, a writer… any of those are things that a child could easily become if they take the time to learn the craft, and are willing to put in the time it takes to build a career. They aren’t the “traditional” ways of earning a living, but that isn’t a reason to discourage a child from them. It’s a reason to help them find ways to make it happen.

Instead of discouraging children from their dreams, it would be wonderful if adults encouraged them. Even the unlikely ones. Let children reach their own conclusions about whether they can actually fulfill those dreams, instead of telling them they can’t.