Remember when you were a child and you dreamed of being a police officer, a ballerina, a firefighter, or a scientist? Our son spent countless hours pretending he was a police officer. He had the official patches that I sewed onto a light blue shirt and he had the two-way radio attached to his shoulder via velcro stick-ons. He had a hat, black pants, and a cool police scooter with sirens. Our daughter, liked to play store. I was forbidden to remove any tags from purchases until she had adequate time to “play” store as she ran the products over an overturned transistor radio that became her scanner. She also had a cash register with a credit card. She would play for hours and hours. Our son is not a police officer and our daughter, even though she worked at a grocery store in high school, is not currently in retail. But, those countless hours spent imagining and dreaming, helped mold them into the people they are today.
I have learned that some middle school students freely express their dreams for the future and some are more guarded. Those students who don’t say much about their dreams are sometimes afraid that if they tell others about their dreams, they might get teased or someone might tell them that their dream is impossible or even crazy. Lots of dreams seem impossible but most of the extraordinary accomplishments in our world have started out as impossible dreams. The difference is in the “believer”. When Michael Phelps was asked how he was feeling at the moment he received his eighth Olympic gold medal in swimming, he said, “I just want to say how grateful I am for my imagination!” WOW!!! He was telling us that he had imagined that moment in his head many, many times and that moment had come true!! Michael Phelps is the only swimmer in the world to win eight gold medals for swimming in a single Olympics. When Mary Lou Retton, who scored a perfect ten on her Olympic vault in 1984, was asked to comment on how it felt to get a perfect ten, she said, “It felt just like it did the thousand times I did it in my head!” Mary Lou Retton won the All Around Gold Medal in women’s gymnastics at the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles. She is still the only American woman to win the Olympic All Around title in gymnastics.
Imagining and dreaming have propelled countless people into the world of the extraordinary. The key is that they believed they could reach that dream and they imagined what it would “feel” like when they got there. They then focused on the path that would lead them there. Not only do we need to dream “big” but we also need to “feel” We need to picture how it looks and how it feels to “get there”. We also must have people along the way that support us, love us and share in our belief that we can reach our dream. We need “cheerleaders”! The road to our dream is not a straight one. The road is full of detours, bumps, and curves. But, if we never lose sight of the dream at the end of the road, and we have some support, we will get there!
I am asking you, as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and neighbors, to be the cheerleader in a child’s life. I am asking you to support them and their dream in any way that you can. Sometimes, just a listening ear is a huge support. No dream is too big, and no imagination too “crazy”. After all, good things have come from big dreams and crazy imaginations!!