Don’t wake the dreamers

On July 22, a Huffington Post editorial argued against telling children they can achieve anything they want in life.

It suggested parents keep their children practical and encourage them to have realistic goals.

Bluntly put, the author argued that the pragmatic assessment of children’s abilities will serve them better than catering to their improbable dreams.

Instead of managing hopes, parents should support their children’s dreams, no matter how far-fetched their dreams seem. Although most children are unlikely to become astronauts, dreaming of life in space is a worthwhile endeavor.

Aspiring for something fantastic helps individuals to develop skills and discover new interests. Believing in the ability to do anything gives children the impetus to continue through hardship. They will be stronger for it.

If Michael Jordan had decided to quit basketball when he was cut from his high school team, he wouldn’t have gone on to become one of the game’s greatest players. Similarly, if we teach children to dream small, they might never develop the powerful motivation necessary to overcome obstacles.

Encouraging kids to be anything they want is indicative of a loving and supportive environment. Personal limitations become apparent early enough in life, so it’s not necessary for parents to stomp on their children’s dreams. Plus, success stories, when the seemingly impossible is accomplished, prove that dreams are attainable.

Success in itself is an idea that evolves as children grow up. At a young age, it may be the relentless pursuit of a goal, but age and experience widen the definition of the term. Childhood aspirations often take a back seat to choices which are sure to bring fulfillment in adulthood.

We must also consider the effect on children when they’re told that their dreams are unrealistic.

Toned-down expectations and discarded ambition could leave someone bitter and resentful of their apparent lot.

Chasing dreams doesn’t guarantee they’ll be attained, but it’s better than teaching children to be cowards.


Editorial, Huffington Post, Parenting

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