If I had to give any parent out there an important piece of parenting advice it is to encourage your child to dream big, and even if what your child is saying seems impossible to you; dare to dream with them. If you ask my son what he wants to be when he grows up, he will say he wants to be the creator of the Iron Man suit. He has been saying this for as long as I can remember and my response has always been the same
“Son you cannot make an Iron Man suit because that is impossible.”
I said it so much to him, that my son just stopped telling me about his Iron Man suit aspirations. Then one day as I was sitting thinking about all the things I wanted to be and how people told me it was impossible, I started to feel bad. I felt bad because even though I still pursued my dreams despite other people disbelief. There words of encouragement would have made a world of difference.
I then thought about how someone probably told the Wright brothers that they could not fly or invent an airplane. Someone probably told Ben Franklin that there was no such thing as electricity and him flying a kite during a storm was insane (which it was by the way). And I am sure somewhere in time, someone told a cave man that making a fire was impossible.
But here we stand and all of these seemingly impossible things exists in our world because someone thought they were once possible. Just because I do not understand my son’s infatuation building an Iron Man suit does not mean he can’t do it. It is not for me to understand, I am not the one who wants to build an Iron Man suit. My son is.
With this revelation, I went into my son’s room where he was supposed to be sleeping but he was really wide awake. I walked over and asked my son
“What do you want to do when you grow up?”
My son stared at me and then told me that he did not know. I knew that this was false. I knew that he did know but that he was not going to tell me because he was so tired of hearing me tell him his dream was impossible. And so I ask
“Is it to build an Iron Man Suit?”
My son slowly nodded his head yes. And then I told him
“Well when you build one, can you make a pink one for me, with a long weave pony tail coming out of the top of the helmet?”
My son looked at me for a moment and then got up and threw his arms around my neck to hug me. It was like he was waiting for me to give him validation this whole time. He always knew he was going to build an Iron Man suit, but hearing it from me made it better.
In case I may have lost you, there is a moral to this story.
The Parenting Advice
Always believe in your children. No matter how wild and crazy their dreams may seem, it is your job to support them and guide them in a positive direction. For example, I told my son that if he wanted to build an Iron Man suit that he will have to go to college and become an engineer so he can learn how to make that happen. That way not only am I believing in him, but I am also showing him the way to make his dreams come true.
Now if your son wants to be a bank robber, gang member, or a serial killer…. get them help! Do not believe in those dreams. You will know what dreams to harness and what dreams you need to get them therapy over.
For everyone else
The reason why my thought process changed about my son and the Iron Man Suit, is because I remember people telling me I would never finish college, I would never get a master’s, I would never get a PhD; and although I have learned to ignore these comments, it would have also have been better to hear words of encouragement instead of hearing what I cannot do. If a dream is in my heart, it was given to me for a reason. You do not understand my dream because it is not for you to understand.
Therefore, learn that you can always give positive words to your friends, your husbands, or your family members instead of telling them how dumb they are for thinking they can achieve the impossible. And who knows, they might do just that….the impossible.
Once again know guide the person and also allow them to see their limits. If someone wants to sing and cannot hold a note. Then give them voice lessons. If the voice lessons don’t help and they still cannot sing, then let them audition for the Voice and let other people tell them they can’t sing. That way you still believe in them and you are not the bearer of bad news. AND also try to get them to harness their love for music in a direction that they are actually good at. Like maybe a radio host or DJ. But the point is to never come down on other people’s dreams and never allow someone stifle your ability to dream. There are a lot people out there destined to do great things but they won’t because they lack the proper encouragement. So dare to dream the impossible and tell your children they can do the impossible.
Two books that changed my life and that explains what I am trying to say perfectly are the Alchemist and The Dream Giver. Both are good reads that I recommend for people who have dreams that no one else believes in.