Mom offers advice for helping foster your child’s dreams.
One day, while I made the 20-minute drive home from school with my two elementary-aged sons, I listened to them tell me all of their plans for what they were going to be when they grew up.
My 6-year-old wanted to be a veterinarian and my 7-year-old wanted to be a chemist.
At least for the moment.
The future vet talked to the future chemist about how he could create the medicines that the animals in his hospital would need. I nodded my head through it all and told them how amazing I thought all of this was. What mother wouldn’t be proud of that?
They went on to tell me about the tree house that they were going to live in together, and that’s where it started to get a little bit crazy. The chemist spoke excitedly about his chemistry lab — should he call it “100 Elements” or “The Bunson Burner”? It would be in the tree house, of course!
This was about the time when I realized that I had a choice.
I could stop this crazy talk right now. A chemistry lab in a tree house? Do you have any idea how unrealistic that is? You do know that you could set the whole tree house on fire, right? Wouldn’t a nice safe science lab at a university be a better choice? And are you sure you want to live together for the rest of your life? In a tree house? Do you actually know anyone who lives in a tree house?
I could continue to nod my head and smile and tell them that I loved their ideas. They have the coolest imaginations and I think it would be AMAZING to live in a tree house! “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a chemist naming his lab, I totally think you should! Maybe you could open the tree house lab up to kids and they could come and learn about science. They’d love that!”
I’m so thankful that when I opened my mouth, encouraging words came out because initially I was inclined to be the realist, as usual. Then I realized that life is real enough.
As kids grow up they are faced with harsh realities of what is possible. As their mother I am not going to be the one that dashes their dreams.
I’m going to be their cheerleader, the one who makes them believe that anything is possible. I’ll be the mom that gives her children the confidence that they need to shoot for the stars, because that’s what moms should do for their kids, no matter how out of reach those stars may seem.
Sometimes it may feel like I’m feeding a delusion, but that’s OK, as long as they know that I’m behind them 100 percent. And maybe, just maybe, it was time to start working on a tree house.
This post was written by Jenny Yarbrough, a wife and mother raising three beautiful children in Nashville. She stays busy homeschooling, sewing, designing patterns and writing, among the many other things that mothers and wives do each and every day. You might find her sitting with her daughter at a local coffee shop, sipping a yummy drink and poring over schoolbooks, but rarely will you find her just sitting around.