This thing happened.
It was a five minute conversation that has sat in my stomach for a week and turned sour. I am a huge supporter of real parenting (Shout out to Scary Mommy, Kristina Kuzmic, The Holderness Family, Juggling the Jenkins and the rest of us that are keeping our noses above water)and giving Mom’s and Dad’s a break cause some times parenting is brutal. And, because I want to be perfectly honest, as a parent I have made my share of ugly mistakes (no flawless parent claims from me, my children will simply have to overcome like I did!).
This five minutes hit me in the Mama Bear feels and I just don’t think I can explain it with out telling you the story. No Names of people or stores, no actual date of when this happened. It is parent shamimg, but hopefully I can share it with you as I intend it to be, a cautionary tale that makes people think and lives better.
I was in the line at a store to return something pretty but not practical. There was a cute little family behind me. Mom, Dad, baby, toddler and boy of about 7 or 8. The line was long and the two littles got fussy and so the mom took them on a little tour of the store while the Dad and older child stayed in the line. The kid, having his dad to himself, started chatting in the way kids do, talking about this and that.
As I mentioned, the line was long and VERY slow. So of course with nothing else to occupy my mind, I was shamelessly listening and smiling at the enthusiasm of his little voice. This boy pipped up and announced to his Dad that he had decided what he wanted to be when he grew up. A YouTube-er.. He words jumbled together as he explained as fast as he could that you can make money by doing videos on YouTube. Lots of it, it’s a real job.
All parents, when faced with what they perceive as a “pie in the sky” dream, tend to do the same thing. It involves an awkward pause, where your mostly distracted brain that was running on autopilot with uhhuh’s and mmmm’s and “is that right’s”, now has to register what your kid has actually said and then come up with a response that shows you’ve “really” been paying attention to what they have been saying all along, and try to gently guide them to a more attainable goal.
At first his dad was only mildly dismissive, trying to appeal to his small son’s reason. With each attempt to dissuade him the son was more determined to explain to his Dad that what he was saying was a real job and people really did it. Finally after a couple of minutes of genuine confusion about why his dad didn’t seem to understand him, the son stopped speaking. Just a moment later the Mom came back with mostly mollified small humans and the Dad spoke to her.
He went from relate-able parent to a bully. I wish there was another way to describe what happened next and that is the only word I could find to accurately describe it.
He said to his wife, in front of his son and the whole rest of the line (and there is no way that everyone else was not hearing the same thing I was) in a mocking sort of tone, Guess what your son wants to be when he grows up…. And so it went, with both parents scoffing and openly ridiculing his choice of profession and his Mother repeatedly telling him how stupid a job it would be. His Dad actually said, “Can’t you choose a better career, like being a football player”……
What?! Ok, I admit as I was listening to this, I just could not keep the gasps of surprise from coming out of my mouth and I am pretty sure that my increasing indigence was the motivating factor to the Mom to blurt out that they were just not going to talk about it any more and the conversation ended.
I find it hard to understand what kind of Hell your life must be in your head to willfully crush your child’s dream, all be it a less than traditionally conventional one.
First of all, The technology and the internet are the future and having a job in an ever growing field with huge demand is simply a smart move. Point for the KID. It is a “real job” that is sustainable and still evolving AND makes real money. In fact, the tech field is a bunch of real jobs and sticking your head in the sand is not living in our world as it is.
And to the Dad, are you kidding me? A football player? A guaranteed list of injuries and medical complaints that will only worsen as you grow older and a career with a time limit?!?
Dreams are the stuff that make up our realities. When we are young our dreams are about doing the things our parents do, showing the world how awesome we are, or grand adventuring. Our dreams evolve and grow, they change with us. What starts out as our dream becomes so much more if we nurture it. Dreams lead to goal setting and achieving, dreaming expands our creativity and sense of self.
The bigger our dreams, the better our world becomes.
It is while in pursuit of our dreams that we go places, learn things and do things we never would have predicted. A dream can start on one road and end up on an entirely different one and IT IS STILL GOOD.
With out dreams, we are little better than robots. Our existence beginning the moment we are plugged in, filled with work and ending the moment the plug is pulled out of the wall.
Dream on, dream small, dream big. Just don’t stop dreaming kid.
Photo credit, Free Google Images