How to deal with “I Want to be a ….” story
What do you want to be when you grow up? A question that has been asked to kids eternally by parents and elders.
All of us have lived the age when the answer to this question had come very easily to us. The time when there was an innocent eagerness to take on the world, when nothing seemed difficult or out of reach and there was a beaming confidence in each one of us that seemed to say that we are unstoppable. The time when one day we dreamed of becoming a pilot and the very next day we got inspired by a fire fighter. When one day it was an astronaut and the next day we just wanted to be an engineer and build bridges.
However as we grow up, the practicality and pressures of life gets onto the innocence with which we dreamed of our lives. The fantasies which were achievable in our childhood start to seem weird, unachievable pieces to the puzzle of our life.
What happens Now when we hear our child dreaming a rosy picture of their future. Do we listen, smile, encourage, enable and coach them? Or we get coloured by doubt, hesitation, prejudices and get judgemental about them. Whatever it may be, our response and attitude has a make or break impact to our child’s self esteem.
Importance of dreams and ambitions in kids’ lives:
As parents one of our key responsibilities is to help the child discover, and realise their passion and potential. Dreams and ambitions of a child can present extremely useful cues to the parents that can be used in coaching their children and channeling their energies and interests to these specific areas. Devising ways and means to understand a child’s key strengths and weaknesses; and then getting them hooked on to the activities that help them in building their strengths is one such strategy that works.
Setting an objective, showing the intent to achieve it and planning to fulfil that desire are all different steps of dreaming that come naturally as a result to this strategy. Undoubtedly, when they dream, they yearn to achieve it and in the process focus their thoughts and actions on getting it done. It takes them away from boredom, it keeps that spark ignited in them and it overall creates positivity around their being.
It is true that it is a competitive world out there. But remember, today’s younger generation is born and being raised in a technology oriented world. The biggest advantage kids have today is the amount of information that they have access to. While the downsides are many, there are numerous benefits to the technology side too. Information and knowledge, undoubtedly open the doors to multi-faceted opportunities and chances.
How should parents be handling their kids’ dreams?
A relevant question that needs to be worked upon from the day the child is born. Encouraging, motivating, participating are all ways of positive parenting. Small little efforts from our end can ensure that the child does not feel lost in his dreams; is not stuck in his thoughts lacking the zeal or interest in practically trying to fulfil the dream. Try some of these:-
- Rather than being an obstacle – be the driving force behind their dream. Guide them, facilitate them. Enroll them for an age specific course or lessons from a qualified person. Give them the right opportunity – the right education, the conducive atmosphere to nurture their dream in a healthy manner.
- Don’t rubbish the dream. Even if you think you know your child very well, you may still be unaware of his hidden talents. Hold on tight to the thought that Children can really surprise you with their talent.
- Discuss and talk. That’s the best way with young minds around. It is a good idea to share your experience with dreams and your success and/or failure in achieving them. Successful parents can set the ideal example for their offsprings – without going over-board. In case you failed to accomplish your dreams, talk to him about reasons why you couldn’t achieve and how you manoeuvred around it to become what you are today.
- Give them the required space to let the sapling of their dream grow into a matured plant. Remember the kind of atmosphere and environment we provide them with, at home will inspire them to put their minds and talent to productive use.
- Provide them with opportunities or experiences to start small. Role play is a great tool to explore the possibilities together. Places like kidzania in Delhi and Mumbai which provide great platform for kids to see in reality what different professions mean and skills they need. For a child aspiring to be an entrepreneur, giving them small projects to do and sell is a great way to simulate the real world for him.
- Since there is no end to information today, use the information to channelize the child’s thoughts and actions into proper direction. Sharing stories of top achievers, especially in the field of his interest area, would be the ideal way to keep him motivated and inspire him to keep dreaming.
- Nurture his dreams and in the meanwhile also try to live yours… After all remember YOLO!
Happy Dreaming & Happy Parenting!