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BE A DREAM THROWER

Even though it makes me feel old sometimes I like to think about the way it was when I was growing up. And how different things are today.

When I was little girl I was seemed to always be thinking and dreaming about the future. I was the star of my own daydreams and was always looking at how I could make the future I dreamed of come true. I knew I had to get an education so I found out how to get into a good college. I really wanted to become a doctor so I studied as hard as I could in college.

One of the things that seems very different today is the number of children that are 1) vague about their future or 2) not energetic in figuring out how to get there. This may be related to Parenting Pitfall I: GIVING KIDS TOO MUCH. (See ParenTips under PARENTING SKILLS) Maybe children who get everything handed to them think that’s how their future will arrive, boxed like a video game.

There are also those children from disadvantaged families who, because of economic hardship and less than adequate schools, don’t aspire to a future that includes college, for example.

Parents: Whenever you can, be a DREAM THROWER!

If you live in the southwest or your community has a store that sells American Indian jewelry and artifacts you know what a dream-catcher is. For the rest of you it’s a fabric-covered circle with a web inside. These come in bright colors and have both a fabric hanger and decorations hanging from the bottom of the circle. Legend has it that if you hang a dream catcher near your bed it’s web will catch good dreams for you. I often give them as gifts. Everybody can use good dreams, right?

Because children today are so into instant gratification and so nonchalant about working for their future I think parents should add DREAM THROWING to their tasks. Talk with your children about how much you daydreamed about your future when you were young, how you decided what you were going to do when you grew up, how you got information about careers, who you talked to. Talk to them about daydreaming, starring in a movie in their mind about the future. When you see something in the papers about an interesting or new kind of career talk to your children about it. Never discourage a child who talks about a possible future career. Be especially careful to avoid negative feedback to daughters who want to be fire fighters and sons who want to be dress designers.

Take your children to work with you on occasion. Try to expose your children through books and visits to careers or professions they seem interested in. My husband, who was a veterinarian, always made time to show interested kids the “back rooms” of his veterinary hospital, invite them to watch surgery, and follow him around. He was especially interested in telling girls they could become veterinarians (OR they could go to medical school instead and have lots of animals and pay veterinarians to take care of them!) When there is a career day somewhere encourage your child’s participation.

If you throw dreams out there maybe your children will look beyond today’s video game into their own future. It can’t hurt!

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