Dreams for the Future

 

Dreaming of a bright future…

When we bring children into the world, no doubt, we have hopes and dreams for their future. We expect and hope for the very best that life has to offer for them. I recently saw a very emotional post on Facebook from a mother of a child who has cystic fibrosis, saying that she wants to keep her child away from things that might make the child sick. Her arguement was that she brought the child into this world, and she wants to keep her healthy in order to–in the words of the loving, and well-meaning mama–“see her live out all of my dreams that I have for her future.” Does anyone see what I see in that statement? It’s the child’s future that the mom was talking about, but the post was centered around the mom doing what she thinks is best, in order to see her child live out the dreams that she has for the child.

It’s our job as parents to raise our children to be intelligent, responsible people who take care of themselves and have success in life. That is a pretty big task in itself. We make that job harder on ourselves, and certainly on our child, when we make parenting to be anything more than that. Instead of focusing on the future that we want our children to have, we need to give them unconditional love, to support their uniqueness, to support their interests, and to support their future, whatever that may be.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have secret hopes for my son. How awesome it would be if he were a professional athlete! I’m sure that he enjoys sports so much in part because my husband and I love sports. And while some of a child’s interests come from the parents, it’s important for us to support interests that we don’t share just as much as we support those interests that we do share. For example, I have no real desire to create my own board games. I’m perfectly fine playing the games that already exist, like Scrabble or Chutes and Ladders. But my son loves to make up his own games, sometimes with very complex rules that I may not understand. But I do my best to play along, rather than pushing a game that I already know and enjoy. There is a fine line between including our children in our own interests and making those interests become the only ones that we focus on with our children.

As another example, I want to have grandchildren. I want to have grandbabies to rock when it’s past my time to have any more babies. I want to have grandkids to delight with gifts on Christmas morning, long past the time when my boys stop believing in Santa. But what if my boys don’t want children? What if that just isn’t in the cards for them? I have to accept the fact that it may not be what they want, and I will have to try not to force that on them. Raising children is no easy task, and I would not want to pressure either of my boys to become a father, no matter how much I wish they would.

Some parents dream that their children will go to college. That they will get married. That they will find a good-paying job. That they will live nearby. That they will have a nice home. But what if the child would rather go to beauty school than a university? What if they don’t find a compatible relationship? What if they prefer to work for a low-paying, non-profit organization? What if their dream is to live in Japan? What if they fancy a small, cramped apartment in the city? Are we going to be disappointed? I think in most cases, we will be proud of them, no matter what they decide to become in the future, so isn’t it best to let them have theirown dreams from the beginning?

Everyone has a purpose in this world. They may be born with it. They may develop it as a child. They may seek out that purpose as an adult. If we are too focused on what we want for our children, they may miss out on finding their own purpose, and living out the dreams that they were made to fulfill.

How can we support our children’s dreams?

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9 Comments on “Dreams for the Future”

  1. Yes, it ultimately it’s the child’s dreams. However, I think some of your aspirations do seep into the child’s thoughts till it becomes their own. Either way, wish them luck and hope for the best.

    • I agree. It’s a balance between nature vs. nurture. The way we parent has a lot to do with the way they think about the future and what they do with it.
      Have you ever seen that show Wife Swap?? I know those are usually extreme families, but I’ve seen it often that the parents enjoy dance and therefore they push that on their kid, and then the other mom comes in and it turns out he really wants to learn to ride a bike… so he does and he’s quite good at it! I see it in real life too, not just TV (although it’s more entertaining to watch when it’s not so personal). That’s more of what I’m talking about. I want grandkids, so I’m sure that will slip out from time to time, but I don’t want to become that mom that asks at every family gathering, “So when are you going to settle dowwwwwn?” lol

      • I don’t know the show.
        Some parents are obsessive about making a junior or their child to fulfill the dreams that they left unfulfilled.
        Good laugh from that last part – thanks.

  2. muddledmom says:

    I think as you watch your children evolve, you begin to see what their goals are and you root for them. You realize they have their own hopes and dreams and it’s not your life. They become big people and they’re not your little people anymore. I think you just watch and wait.

    • I think that’s so true! That’s how it should happen. But the key is that you have to be paying attention, or you might overlook their dreams and push your own agenda instead. Those parents that are all about looking nice might not let their little boy play in the dirt… what if he was destined to be a palientologist? (I’m sure that’s spelled incorrectly. lol) It happens in schools too. The director got mad at my son’s preschool teacher last year for letting my son and his buddy dig in the dirt in the corner of the playground, but the teacher let them do it anyway (go, girl!) and low-and-behold the kids found a BUNCH of tiny bones! Probably a mouse or baby rabbit or something, but the kids all swore it was dinosaur bones! They were SO excited. The teacher kept the bones above the cubbies of my son and his friend, because the boys wanted to keep them. When I picked up my son, the other boy’s mom was telling him that they were dirty and he couldn’t take them home. The boy was in tears. When the teacher and my son explained the discovery to me, and I saw the unbridled excitement on my son’s face, I said, “Well put them in your pocket, and let’s take them home to show Daddy!” We have them in a Ziploc bag, with the date and my son’s name, and the words “Dinosaur Bones!” written on the bag. He still loves looking at them and talking about his big find. (Sorry, I know that was a long response to your short comment, but it’s just another example of a parent taking away the dreams of their child, even though they probably meant well.)

      • muddledmom says:

        I think you do have to always keep that in the back of your mind. You never know what your child will turn out to be, what experiences of his will mold and shape him, and you do have to be careful what you choose to crush. I try to be aware of that. My son has a strange fascination with lists. I find it a bit disturbing and pointless. But when he is 30 and his life is on track, it may all come together. I may have that “aha” moment and realize that’s what all that list making was about.

      • I agree all the way. I love reading about that little quirk your son has with lists. My son has some strange, foreign notions in his little brain too. Like you, I can’t wait to see what becomes of them. Oh, that “aha” moment… it sounds magical. 🙂

  3. jane says:

    I follow what you are saying but criticizing a mother who has a child with a chronic illness isn’t fair. Cystic fibrosis is a serious life threatening illness. Most people die in their early 20’s. Life expectancy is 37 at this time. If you ever took care of someone with this illness you wouldn’t have started your article with it. I couldn’t read the whole thing because your ignorance made my blood boil. You could have written this article without mentioning this poor mom who just wants to keep her child safe from any potential lung complications and knows what the future holds for her child. Many hospital stays, antibiotics etc etc. Try watching a child struggling to breathe or on a ventilator and you might think twice

    • I’m sorry of I offended you, but my son has cystic fibrosis, and I know very well all of the complications, treatments, statistics, etc of the disease. Our CF clinic has been clear with us from day one that we should not limit him in any way, aside from maybe hot tubs or scuba-diving. They do not want him to live in a bubble, nor do I want to teach him that his dreams are limited in any way because of this disease. I know exactly what the mother is going through; we live it every day.


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