Saturday, July 10, 2010

Never Forget to Dream

Recently a friend of mine asked for advice on parenting. The teacher in me normally shies away from these types of conversations (teachers are like evangelists, get them on a roll and they can't shut up), but as we're both single parents struggling to raise emotionally healthy children in an unhealthy world, I couldn't help myself.

We talked for a moment or two about the situation; lack of motivation and self-esteem seemed to be the main concern.

"Does she have a dream board?" I asked. Silence.

Now both my children know I'm a little quirky (they call it weird), and so they didn't find it odd that one day after school they discovered a 4'x4' cork board nailed to their walls.

"Put up pictures of what you want in life," I explained. They both looked at me like I'd lost my mind, but after we ran through the possibilities they started finding pictures of people graduating, nice cars, state swim times, various universities, etc. I placed the board opposite their bed, so that it's the first thing they see when they wake up, and the last thing they see at night. We've kept this practice going for years, and when their dreams change, their board changes. To this day, my very first post-it note scribble in marker still hangs in the corner. It simply states, "Never forget to dream". 

My friend liked the idea and the conversation ended on a positive note. Yesterday, Kate and I were talking about how her dream board had inspired her, and as she matured how her board had changed over the years.

"Mom, I've never thought about it, but why don't you have a dream board?"

I'd never really thought about it either, and so I am officially making my first dream board (more like a basket at the moment), full of hopes for the future. As I compiled pictures and wrote notes of what I really wanted in life, I began to realize that so often we are caught up in the moment, in trying to achieve the next level or accomplish the next task that we forget to dream.

So now, I have a challenge for you. Go through and really think about what you want. Write them down, find pictures, cut them out, and put them somewhere you can see them every day. Give yourself permission to dream.