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.
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, 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 realized? Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and realized 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 realized 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 center of them.
We need people in our church and faith communities 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 firmly believe that many of the adventures that have made up my life so far are a consequence of the way my mum and my grandmother gave me permission to dream big dreams. They gave me the greatest gift….one that I enjoy exercising a little now and then. This post was first published on my previous website Goannatree on 24 April 2012.
Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.
Anna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer currently living in eastern New Mexico. She is an attorney (non practicing) and the former Executive Director of a non profit. You can follow her adventure on Not A Pedestrian Life, or Facebook.