Lots of kids dream about becoming pro athletes, movie stars, famous musicians, prima ballerinas and presidents. I don’t know about you but the last time I looked at a group of gown-ups, I saw a lot more teachers than TV stars…. more software engineers than soloists.
What becomes of childhood dreams? Do our kids stop dreaming? Or do they stop telling us?
Sometimes our efforts to shield those we love from disappointment backfire. We mean well: we want them to feel safe and secure. We want them to avoid the mistakes we have made. Sometimes we put the brakes on their imagination and creativity.
So how do we make sure that our kids will be prepared to earn a living without stepping on their big dreams? How do we keep our feet on the ground AND dream along with them?
Asking open-ended questions and brainstorming about to achieve goals and dreams goes far beyond the dreaded “What do you want to be when you grow up” question.
1) Ask questions that encourage imagination. “What do you think it’s like to work on a movie set?”
2) Ask questions that reinforce ideas. “How long do you think it took <name of actor they admire> to land such a big role?” or “What courses do you think she took to get so good at this?” and “I wonder what other jobs he had along the way?”
3) Ask questions that help them make plans. “If acting is what you really want to do what do you think you might need to do to prepare? Are there things we can practice now?”
4) Ask questions that help them broaden their thinking. “It seems like the part of being an actor is the ______. Does that happen in other industries?”
Dreams may provide yet another way to improve communication and to strengthen your connection. And that can be a dream come true for any family.