Remember when you were a little person, and your head was constantly swimming with ideas of what and who you were going to be when you grew up? I still do! Right now, I am seeing it in my four kids. It is an amazing thing to watch, but so incredibly important to nurture and feed. It is so easy to become apathetic or disinterested in dreams when they seem too difficult. Giving up even. So right now, I am an assistant dream chaser. A job title I can live with.
This little guy is 7. And for the past three years he has thought so much about what he will be able to do when he is ‘older and bigger’. He has a few things on his list –
And driver of big excavators and moving vehicles.
He has reasoned that working in archeology probably won’t be a job that he can do ‘all the time’ as dig sites are ‘getting a bit rarer’. So he thinks that being a Vet will be ‘ok enough to buy a nice house and a truck and look after my family if I have one Mummy’. So he has insight. He knows that all the things he is dreaming of require further education – a fact which I explain will involve lots of homework and study. He is flat out getting his homework done now without being forced too! He tells me that learning for your job is not going to be boring because it is something interesting. Again, very insightful!
I have known this little guy for a while now (haha!), and have seen him try and try and try for some things, and give up in others. And, like any parent, I try so very hard to support all my kids in what they want to do. Hayden is not very athletic, and he would be the first person to tell you this. He knows though, that even if we are not great at sport, we still need to be active.
So, his choice was tennis. Which for us is a winner as hopefully it will help with his hand/eye coordination, which he struggles with. The first time he went, he went through 220 balls (I know because I counted them) before he hit ONE. When he did hit that ball, he was so proud (and rightly so) and so was I. I could have cried with pride. He did not give up. He kept trying to hit that ball, and even though the ball basket was nearly empty, he kept getting into position every time, with bounce and hit as his mantra, 221 times over. At this moment, I caught a glimpse of who Hayden may be as an adult. Determined. That one word is going to be enough to propel him through life.
So, as his mum, and as an assistant dream chaser, I need to fuel that determination. He needs to see that he can achieve his dreams, but he can also have fun and enjoy the journey. He needs to believe in himself, and have the strength to keep going no matter what life may throw his way. All easy to say, and difficult to do. How do I support him through this? My only thoughts are by being honest with him and providing support, feedback and insights into this world of adulthood through my eyes. I need to also show him traits that he can develop – like determination, pride and respect. I need to also be real about things. Dreams are difficult to chase, because it takes effort. We might make mistakes, or get sidetracked, but we can always keep trying and keep working towards our goals and dreams. I keep telling him baby steps. Because while we know what we want, we have to work out how to get there.
The role of assistant dream chaser, like motherhood, is going to be my most important role ever. Because if I give up, what am I teaching my kids? That it is ok to chuck it all in? To walk away from our dreams without trying, without putting everything into it? Nope, I cannot do that. To do this though, I have to step back a little and let them be. I have to learn to let them do things their own way sometimes. In all honesty, I think this is going to be more difficult than anything else; because I want to do everything for them and ensure that they have everything! So, while they are chasing dreams, I am going to have to let go of a little control, (scary when I run to a routine!) and let them develop into who they are going to be. Let them develop their dreams and goals, and wear that title “Assistant Dream Chaser” like a BOSS.