When was the last time you supported your child in some ridiculous, far-fetched idea?
Made it seem real and possible and encouraged your child to reach for the stars?
I know I’m guilty of poo-pooing my sons’ dreams. When they come up with some wild idea that I KNOW they’ll never be able to do. They can’t do it because it’s too much work for too little pay, it defies the laws of gravity, or it’s just plain ol’ silly. And, I admit, I don’t let them try. I’m afraid they’ll fail – and we all know that failure is bad
And yet I think back to my own childhood and realize it was because my parents allowed me to reach for those unreachable stars that I can do it now. It’s because my parents were right there digging to China with me that I can do it now.
Way back when I was little one of us got the idea of digging to China; I’m relatively certain the idea came from a school lesson about how China was on the other side of the globe. It stands to reason then, that if we dug a hole deep enough we would reach China. At least it made sense to my 7-year-old brain.
Together with all the neighborhood kids, I started digging a hole in our backyard. We spent days digging that hole, each one taking turns with the shovel.
We were excited when the hole was one foot deep, delighted when it was two. A 5-foot hole brought on a sense of euphoria and we knew – we just KNEW – we were close.
When the hole was six feet deep we hit red clay and we were positive we were close because, as everyone knows, China is red.
After that it became harder for us kids to dig, so my dad climbed down in that hole with a shovel. I remember very clearly hauling away the buckets of dirt he passed up to us. He was just as excited as we were that we were nearly to China.
I don’t remember how deep our hole got – I only remember seeing my 6’ 6 ½” father deep down in the hole digging. I don’t remember when we finally called off our quest.
I only remember that we tried. We had a dream. We started digging. Dad was right there with us and Mom brought out sandwiches for exhausted workers; chasing a dream is hard work, after all.
As I look back upon my life and think about what gave me the courage to spread my wings and fly away – to chase after that nebulous thing I called my dream – was that my parents believed in me. They believed in my dream no matter how ludicrous it was.
- When I said I wanted to dig a hole to China, they believed in me.
- When I wanted to travel the world, they supported me in my quest.
- When I said I wanted to go ride my bike around India – alone – they believed that I could.
- And, I have no doubt, when I said I would ride a bike to the ends of the world, they would have supported that dream wholeheartedly had they still been around.