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Parenting on Purpose

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Bigstock Photos

Children often dream of having many different careers as they grow up. They might want to be a firefighter one minute, a jockey the next, then a baker, and maybe even President of the United States after that. Sometimes these career goals change over time, but sometimes children will want to be all of these things at once.

It’s wonderful for them to have these dreams, even if they change all the time. Childhood is the time to try on new ideas and new experiences. It is their opportunity to explore these dreams which will change over time as a new passion takes over.

Many times a loved one or another well-meaning person will give what they believe to be an honest appraisal of a child’s abilities in order to inject a “dose of reality.” These comments can forever alter a child’s vision of themselves.

Doesn’t it feel great to support your child’s dreams as opposed to offering a perception of what you may think is real for your child? Life can hold unlimited possibilities for you and your children. Encourage them to follow their dreams and explore all of life’s possibilities. Their lives may take an interesting turn which was not expected, and they can only experience their own power if they try.

Imagine everyone in your family is tall and your son or daughter tells you they want to be a jockey. Do you tell them that it isn’t likely? Or do you help them figure out what it is they might love about being a jockey? Maybe they love riding horses or perhaps the care and grooming of these beautiful animals. You can support what they love and help them explore many different ways to achieve this feeling.

What about careers that defy gender norms?

Countless girls were told they couldn’t be jockeys just because they were girls. It seemed an impossible dream until one day a girl became a jockey. While it still isn’t a common sight, there is no longer a rule that girls cannot be jockeys and there isn’t any rule that boys can’t be ballet dancers either. You can continue to encourage your child in their dreams even if their interest is unusual for their age, gender, or body type.

Take Misty Copeland for example. Her dream to be a ballerina didn’t start until she was a teenager. That’s ancient in ballet years. Misty was only 5’ 2” tall, and as she tells it, she didn’t have a classic ballet body and was even considered a bit stocky. In addition to all that, Misty is an African-American woman, which is a rarity in the world of ballet.

I can just imagine the dose of reality that some people might have tried to give to Misty. They may have said things like, “You’re too old to start learning ballet” or “There hasn’t been an African-American to break out of the corps in more than 20 years.”

Fortunately, Misty was able to ignore those who would’ve held her back from greatness and convince her to follow a “realistic” dream. By surrounding herself with loving, supportive people, Misty was able to fulfill her dream of being a ballerina. Today, Misty Copeland is a soloist for the American Ballet Theater, despite not fitting the mold. In fact, Misty is considered a prodigy, winning awards after only two years of training, and becoming a pro after only four years.

Your child has the ability to achieve greatness even in the simplest of dreams. Always encourage these dreams and let them know all things are possible. Be the catalyst to their unlimited potential.

Please feel free to comment.
© 2015. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.

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