I found some of the letters she had written me yesterday.
I came upon them accidentally.
In these I read her heart. Her love for her family – for me – and her sense of humour.
In them I feel her sense of adventure. The same sense I‘ve inherited.
I feel her certainty, her doubt, her hope, her fears.
They break my heart and fill me with joy at the same time.
My grandmother’s prayer is now my own:
God grant me the strength for what is necessary.
How I grew in the gardens they planted!!
If you want to give your children a gift that will help their imaginations and hearts soar, then teach them how to dream.
I don’t mean the images we occasionally remember upon waking from a slumber. I mean those epic flights of fancy when we think about grand adventures we might have or paths we might yet follow.
Let them imagine what it would mean to follow a career path you might think out of your financial reach, or take a trip you couldn’t begin to think how to afford or where you would possibly find the time. Or some other crazy idea where the immediate limitation you can conceive is something other than money or time. We need, simply put, to be encouraging children to dream.
It’s those moments where our imaginations take flight and there’s a spark in minds and hearts to spur us on to achieve great things. Things far beyond logically assessment. And before I go any further, I don’t just think you should teach your children how to dream. You shouldn’t just be encouraging children to dream. You, my friend, should relish in the dream(ing) too.
There comes a point in the process where practicalities must be considered but the phase of dream the biggest dreams our hearts and minds can fathom, let not practicalities stifle us. And let our dreams, and those our children dream, go far beyond mere trifles of fame and celebrity. Such things are fleeting and way more uncomfortable than one might imagine (I say this watching on as others have experienced such things themselves). Let them be more substantial, and more important.
May your dreams be of grand adventures and things no man or woman has yet before done. May they be feats of the body, the intellect, and the heart. May they stir up the deepest and grandest desires of your heart and make your thoughts and hopes sing with the very thought of them. Encourage big questions, big hopes, big plans. Explore the lives less ordinary.
To dream, to aspire, to hope must be taught. It must be practiced. Think up great adventures or trips you may never take. The taking of them will be an adventure enough of its own. One of these plans or ideas will germinate and grow into something spectacular, or something simple – it doesn’t matter which.
Have you ever had a long held dream be realised? Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and realised that you had dreamt of this moment, this place, this very feeling? I have. That feeling of knowing that it was a dream dreamt and worked for, hoped for, desired, and then realised uplifts one’s spirit to new heights. Like the adrenaline seeking of those who seek dangerous outlets for their addictive qualities, dreaming and hoping and planning can become self-perpetuating. Some may consider it self-possessed or even narcissistic, but I never said that these grand dreams had to have yourself at the centre of them.
We need people in the church to dream bold, big, crazy dreams for our communities. We need people who are not going to sit by and let the mold of simpering sycophancy or complacency eat away at the desires of our hearts to serve others as we have been called to do.
Please, please give your child the gift of letting them learn how to dream, encourage them by not immediately tearing down their grand visions with questions of practicality – let their minds soar, allowing them to ask those questions of themselves and you. Who knows, give yourself an hour or two (either alone or with someone you love) to dream a little and who knows just what dreams may come or how your life might change as a consequence.
I’m thinking lots today about my beautiful, inspiring, loving, complete unique grandmothers. I’m looking forward to being in one of their kitchens later this month. One was funny, and feisty with such a presence (i keep getting images of funny faces and sillier dances in costumes of questionable taste), and the other has listened to all my crazy dreams and ideas and loves like pretty much noone else I know.
Photo Credit: Santa Fe, 2013: Anna Blanch. Do not use without permission.
Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.
Anna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer. In 2014, she will embark on an epic adventure traveling Overland From Australia to London by train and ferry. You can follow this adventure on Not A Pedestrian Life, or Facebook. More of her photography can be viewed here. For more domestic things take a look at Quotidian Home or her previous website, Goannatree.