This week our sweet baby girl, Addison starts preschool. This realization is met with mixed emotions from this mama. I’m so excited for her because she is very excited but at the same time, I can not believe that my baby is old enough to be going to school already. The day she was born feels like it was just yesterday but also like it was ages ago. Addie is an extremely social child, she always has been, so having her go to school and start dance and gymnastics will be amazing for her because she will get the social interaction she craves and needs. My head knows why this is a good thing, but my heart aches for the days when she was so tiny and needed just me. She is growing so fast and already dreaming of what she wants to do when she “gets big”.
DREAM BIG PRINCESS. Encouraging My Daughter’s Big Dreams.
Last Saturday morning, when we were watching Litton Weekend Adventures Addie exclaimed that she wanted to rescue sea creatures when she gets big. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Litton Weekend Adventures, it is a series of wildlife, ocean, and adventure education shows for kids that airs Saturday mornings. Addie loves them. After watching an episode of “Sea Rescue” Addie declared that she wanted to rescue sea creatures when she grew up. She squealed and asked, “Mommy, can I pease save sea ceatures when I gow up?!” What else could I say but, “Of course angel, you can be whatever you want.” The joy on her face after I told her that made my heart swell with happiness.
I want Addie to hold on to that wonder and excitement for life that she so enthusiastically has right now. I want her to know that if it is her dream, no matter how big, how small, or how “impractical” it seems to anyone else, even her that she can and should go for it with all her heart. I don’t ever want fear to make the decisions in my life again and definitely not in Addie’s life ever. I know what it feels like to live a life that is unfulfilling because I was afraid to do what I really wanted and I don’t want Addie to know what that feels like. So I will cheer her on, support her in her decisions, even when I think she’s making a mistake and be there for her when she succeeds and sometimes fails at whatever dreams she has for herself. I want her to Dream Big and have the strength and courage to live those big dreams.
Their Big Dreams Start With Us
As parents, we are the first place that children’s dreams either grow and blossom or shrivel and disappear. That is a big responsibility and it is one that should be taken very seriously. How we speak to our children and encourage them will determine how they pursue the dreams that they have and approach important milestones in their lives. Just because something seems silly, unattainable or not practical to us does not mean that we should get to determine if that is the path our children take. We should instead guide, encourage and celebrate with them as they navigate their lives as children, teenagers and young adults.
Creating an environment where your child feels safe coming to you with their thoughts, worries and biggest dreams and goals is the first step in helping them to navigate their lives with joy and confidence. One of the ways that we do that in our home is by ensuring that our daughter never feels like her thoughts are silly. A child who has been embarrassed when they have expressed their thoughts and feelings will learn to keep them bottled up, or at the very least, not share them with you.
I for one do not ever want my daughter to feel like I don’t want to know about what’s in her heart. That’s why, no matter how much I might want to giggle or correct her when something she shares seems silly or unlikely, I hold my tongue. I do this because I would rather have her share with me her silliest thoughts and dreams and make her feel like anything is possible than to have her feel like she is silly for thinking them. Cultivate confidence in your child and no dream will ever seem silly or impossible to them.
I know I can’t hold on to her forever and as she moves into this next stage of her life, I will probably shed some tears but I will also be so proud of her because she is taking a big step and she is doing so with excitement and joy. My baby is growing up and dreaming big and I can’t wait to see where those dreams take her. So on Wednesday, when I hand her off to her teacher and smile through the tears that I know will want to escape I will watch my girl take the first steps towards her dreams. Dream Big Princess.
What Big Dreams have your children shared with you? How do you encourage them to follow those dreams? Let me know in the comments below.