Are we teaching our kids to reach too far? It’s highly unlikely that our children will actually make it to the Olympics, so why fill their heads with big dreams that can’t possibly come true?
The impossible happens all the time
It’s true, the odds are long on a given child progressing all the way to the Olympics. In fact it’s downright unlikely that they will. But it’s not impossible.
When a child starts reading, it can seem impossible to them that they’ll ever read easily – those letters are just jumble of shapes and lines. However given time and practice, most kids learn to read. The same is true with any big goal – anything seems impossible to a person who is just starting out, but what if you never tried? Then you’d never have learned how to read, or walk, or drive a car (or fence!). Those things all seemed impossible to you at one point – pie in the sky things that were so far out of your reach.
By encouraging kids to dream big, we’re encouraging them to believe in the impossible. We’re teaching them that even if something seems so far away that we can scarcely imagine it, we can still make it. That kind of dreaming is going to translate into real world skills that allow kids to:
- Plan for college
- Recognize job opportunities
- Push themselves harder in other hobbies/passions
- Save up to buy a house
- Stick through high school
Many of these goals seem wholly out of reach at first – so far out of reach that they could be said to be impossible. However it’s by dreaming big that kids learn to eventually dream even bigger and to take their lives onto the next level. Kids learn to eat that elephant one bite at a time, taking incremental steps in the process.
Growth and falling short
By dreaming those super huge dreams, kids land in the soft space of still making amazing progress. One key to dreaming big is to sit down and create goals that get from here to there. Want to go to Nationals? Then you’ll need to sit down and figure out how many points you need and how much training you’ll have to dig through. And if you don’t make Nationals then guess what – you’ve still gotten a lot further than if you’d never set that goal!
Hard work is an essential part of this equation, a part that people so often overlook. Dreaming big isn’t about coming off the cuff and wishing for things to happen – it’s about laying out a plan to get there and using that dream as a springboard for more and more.
It’s ok to dream big and fall short, it just means that kids get to start over again and to learn more while they do.
Big dreams are exciting
The bottom line is that big dreams get kids excited about working towards their goals. When kids dream big, they get pumped up about the things that they need to do in fencing or whatever it is. That kind of excitement makes them more willing to dig in and do the hard work that they need to do in order to get there. The more our young people dream big, the more passionate they will be about their training.