“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.” -Deepak Chopra
As adults we view childhood dreams in two ways. The first as an uncanny certainty of what a child wants despite her tender age. The second as a changing desire of an impulsive and creative young mind. For the latter, how many times have your children proclaimed their inner-most desire to become a spaceman, only to have this change the following week. What do they want to be now? The next Picasso. It’s for this very reason we initially dismiss childhood dreams as anchorless ships that sail off into the vast blue sea, never to return again.
But that’s not how it was for me.
I always knew I wanted to write. In fact, I was always writing (and reading) as a child. My younger self – during the time when I could barely spell “chicken” right – would pound away on a typewriter, basking under the sun. I wrote about nature-inspired poetry, fictional news reports and stories produced by a hyper-active imagination. I spent my after-school hours in the backyard taking in fresh air while observing chicken, dogs, grass, leaves, trees, and yes, even creepy-crawlers. These were often the subject of my writing. As I got older my intensity for writing grew with me. Pen and notebook in hand, my thoughts would materialize into words etched into white pages. I wrote more poetry, fictional news reports and stories about scientists using the moon’s magnetic field to hurl missiles at approaching meteors. There was even once when a magazine published my writing.
You’d think that with such a desire for it, I would end up just as I had always wanted to be.
Wrong. I was advised against pursuing my dream and chose a career path that had little to do with writing anything creative, unless you consider reports and contracts as page-turners. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending how you view it, I couldn’t seem to find fulfillment from the jobs I had. In retrospect, it was because what I really wanted was to churn out words. I wasted 6 years of my life, excluding college. 6 years I could have spent honing my skills as a writer. But hey, now I’m back writing. Starting from scratch, which by the way is wrought with challenges. A bumpy road indeed, but what path isn’t? If there’s anyone who claims to have had a silky-smooth road to their dreams, they deserve to be ostracized from the rest of humanity for risk of spreading false hope.
Now for the takeaway.
“The things which the child loves remain in the domain of the heart until old age.” – Kahlil Gibran
Once my child told me he wanted to be a chef. Fine with me. Now he wants to be a lawyer. Nothing wrong there except I’d rather have him pursue another career (the reasons are my own and irrelevant to this post). I was thinking about our conversations and realized that my objections shouldn’t prevent him from following what he wants. It’s not my life to live after all, but his. And if defending those in need makes him fulfilled, who am I to prevent him from that? Now that we have children of our own, let’s not be so quick to smirk at their childhood dreams. These aspirations should be taken seriously and nurtured because those who love what they do often excel. Why? Because one of the best things about being human is the feeling of fulfillment and purpose that comes from passion. Passion is an endless supply of fuel, one of the greatest motivators there are. So for my child who has recently turned 5, my promise is to help him lock-down the sometimes elusive childhood dream and help him reel it in. That way, he never has to “work” a day in his life because he’ll be doing what he loves, whatever that is. As long as it’s legal, of course.
Photo Credit: Creative Common from Linda Cronin
Anne Mercado is the quirky author behind Green Eggs & Moms, which offers clever parenting tips and news to keep moms with young kids sane. When she’s not hunched over the computer working, you can find her either counting down to ten to get her kiddo to move faster, or reading a horror book. She also loves vampires and zombies.