I have a dream. I’m stealing that line from a great man. My dream is different, though; a little more personal. It is still important, and it can still change the world. That seems to be my goal for the year and possibly for the rest of my life. This dream I am writing about here has to do with my daughters. I want to give my daughters the tools they need to change the world.
My girls are awesome and that includes my wife. She’s awesome and is a great role model for our daughters. She often finds herself as the mediator between my daughters and I, and my relationship with them is better for it. We are all lucky that my wife is a coach with part of her job is managing people’s emotions. Very helpful when it comes to strict and cranky dads and, well, kids.
This doesn’t even include the fact my daughters got their cute smile and nose from their mom.
In previous posts, I have talked about how I believe in my kids and want them to be the best at whatever they do. I want to empower them. I want them to have confidence. I want them to feel they can do anything they set their minds to, and they are capable of doing all things through God and for God. I want them to stand up for themselves. I want to give them all the tools they need to be successful, whatever that means for them.
The charge to change the world is not something I am hoping they take on for selfish gain that makes them rich so they can hoard it. My wish for them is they change the world for all girls, so that all girls know they are loved and are valued. Change the world for girls who don’t have choices, or don’t feel like they have choices, or are enslaved in one way or another. Change for all people.
Change the world so that all girls may grow up thinking they could become the president.
One way this plays out in our house is the mantra to never give up. Not in the way the early-round American Idol contestants never give up but should. More in the way skateboarders or figure skaters, for example, keep practicing and never give up.
We have a plaque with “Family Rules” on it, and one of the rules is to never give up. This played out recently at Legoland when my oldest daughter wanted to try one of the carnival games where you pay $10 for one chance to win the giant stuffed animal that won’t fit in your car if you win it, so you end up carrying around the rest of the day. She wanted to try a game where you climb a wobbly ladder across a padded mat to the other side without falling off. If you make it across, you win. Since our kids are young, the game operator let them both go for the price of one. My four year old didn’t want to try it, so my seven year old got two turns. She got maybe one-third across the first time, then two-thirds the second time, but trying a third time meant more money, which we parents were not willing to invest in. This led to a giant fit of disappointment, which I automatically assumed was about disobedience for not wanting to leave.
After being calmed down by my wife (both my daughter and I that is), who took the time to listen to her rationale, we discovered that she was trying to live by our family rule and never give up. It made sense: first time, one-third across; second attempt, two-thirds; if she was given a third try, victory. Can’t blame her for having persistence. It will serve her well in the future.
My oldest daughter is also a school nerd, and she loves it. She totally embraces it. My wife found this shirt for her that says “I’m a Nerd” on it, and it is covered with math equations and geometrical shapes covering it. I’m looking forward to seeing what she field of study she decides to pursue.
My youngest is not so much of a nerd, but she is certainly smart. She’s crafty, so we’ll just have to make sure she uses her powers for good and not evil as she gets older. She’s headed to kindergarten soon, and we’re curious to see how she’ll handle it since everything is boring if it’s not watching TV or playing pretend. There have been times my wife has made volcanos, or slime, or putty with household items. This leads to her filling up tupperware with water and stirring it up pretending to recreate these crafts. The only two problems with this is, one, she’s sometimes carrying the water across the house not keeping all the water in the container, or, two, I have found she has poured something solid down the bathroom sink.
Again, after getting some clarification from my wife, she informed me she is trying to do science experiments. The light bulb in my brain went off (it’s only a 30 watt). Since I am a scientist myself, I thought I should encourage this behavior but in a controlled environment. One of my new projects I need to work on is clearing out some space in the garage for her to do some kid-oriented science experiments.
Something that I want to do as a parent is to encourage my kids’ interests and not stifle them regardless of the level of my interest. Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean my kids shouldn’t do it. I grew up skateboarding in the 80’s and I watched a Bones Brigade documentary somewhat recently. One of the skaters featured was Rodney Mullen, who was one of the premier freestyle skateboarders of his day. By age 14 he had turned pro. However, his dad did not support his skateboarding interest and that hindered their relationship. I decided then that I wasn’t going to do be that kind of dad. It doesn’t mean I’m going to like it when my daughters decide to start their goth or emo phase, but it does mean I will be as supportive as I can. So don’t be surprised if you see in 5-8 years at a My Chem concert, or whoever the hot band is at the time.
More importantly, though, more important than what my dreams are for them, is what God has planned for them and for them to seek that plan. I can have all the dreams I want for them, but they need to tune their hearts, ears, and minds to Him. I hope to do what I can to guide them to God. Whatever I dream they do is pointless and worthless if it isn’t part of God’s plan. That is what I dream for them the most. That is what I pray for. That is what I hope they seek.
And I dream on…
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