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Dream builder or Dream crusher?

A few years ago, a young lady told her parents she wanted to be a doctor, her mother said ”No, you are not cut out for medicine”. Her dad said, “no, pick something easier, you dont have the stamina.” He’s was a civil servant, his dad was a civil servant too. Her family have never aspired to be more, for them even passing school cert was just enough, afterall she is a woman and will end up in someone elses kitchen. Because of that one statement she didn’t make any attempt to pass JAMB, after much lobbying she went to a polytechnic to study just anything. She ended up married to a doctor, now have 3 kids and looks like she has the perfect life. A few years after she got married, her parents were invited over to celebrate her husband’s promotion – while gathered her dad ‘jokingly’ said to her it should have been you with that “Dr” in front of your name. She was Heartbroken. She was filled with regret and cried to sleep that evening, if her parents didn’t believe in her why should she believe in herself. She had the dream, she had the passion – but it was crushed by her parents. She believe them because she thought they knew her capabilities.

Sound familiar?!……

Some of us parents tend to be dream crushers – maybe because we also grew up in a home where our parents crushed our own dreams too – where our dreams were never good enough, unattainable, too common, just a passing phase. Our parents may have said things to us thinking it will help, but it didn’t really. It only caused worry and the pressure to conform to do the ‘normal’ things others were doing. The first time my son mentioned he wanted to be a doctor, I found myself trying to tell him how hard it would be, the exams, the unending nights of reading, the blood, the deaths…..Then I realise they were my own fears, my own barriers not necessarily his. Who is to say he would experience all that problem or even consider them a problem. How do I know what my child can and cannot achieve? Am I God?

We parents have the power to make or break our childrens dreams. I have told myself I would encourage my children, whatever their dreams are, no matter how far fetched they sound – be it a musician, doctor, carpenter…anything.. as long as they are happy doing it they will excel in it. The words, “I don’t think you can do this or that,” are not going to come from my mouth and even though there will be plenty of obstacles between my children and their dream, I pray I will not be one of them. Please let us believe in the best our children have to offer and build them up! Let us try to be their encouragement and not their downfall.

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