Editing the Dream
Editing the Dream for our kids makes us feel like we are protecting them from the pain of failure. After all, every child’s dreams can be turned into “just a phase” if they are kept from having a chance at attaining them. If they want to be an architect they must study art and math, if they want to be a chef we must allow them to make a mess in the kitchen. Whatever they aspire to, we must let them explore it with all of their hearts. If we don’t let them try, we guarantee it will never be.
I was never able to understand how hard this is…until I had children of my own. I find myself struggling to decide whether a deepening interest in a difficult subject is worth the possible let down I see on the horizon. So then I ask myself; do they have the requisite level of talent? What if they aren’t good “enough”? These questions are scary because they require a great deal of insight to get at a good answer. If we are talking about dance I can tell the likelihood of successfully navigating the road that I have travelled with at least some degree of clairvoyance because of my experience as a student, professional dancer and now a teacher of dance. However, when it comes to other areas, I must be humble enough to recognize that I am not an expert and that no amount of research on the internet and talking to other parents will get me the certainty I am seeking. When that realization is made the next logical course of action is to to seek out someone who has already achieved the highest levels of success in the endeavor in which my children have an interest and develop a relationship of trust with them. This is getting more and more difficult since the term “master” is thrown around in marketing material with reckless abandon. “Master Teacher”, “Master Class” are used in place of the more accurate term of “Guest Teacher”. Every teacher, company director, artistic director, or studio owner in the world are not necessarily a master of their craft. So how do you find one of these masters? Let me save you some time…In every case when I have spoken with absolute masters of their craft I have come across the same answer to all of those nagging questions, doubts, and fears:
In the end it doesn’t matter if my kids have achieved a certain level of success that I (as their parent), in my wisdom, have determined as an acceptable return for the investment of time and energy. What matters is that I am putting them in the right place with a master of the field and I trust that person to teach my child with firm and loving guidance. My kids will have delved into something deeply, driven by their own desire and passion for a subject, that they learned “enough” about themselves to influence the rest of their lives in a positive way.
Some of the greatest achievements of mankind have been made by those people who dared to try something that others thought was just fancy simply because they did not care that the incredible feat before them was seen as impossible. We mustn’t let the cynicism of adulthood disguise itself as wisdom and creep into our children’s hearts. They may not become whatever they picture in the beginning but they will surely learn about themselves in the process. Isn’t that an important part of being a great parent? Guiding our children through a process of self-actualization. I think it is.