Cultivating the Ability to Dream- Part I

I grew up in my high-school years surrounded by business books, entrepreneurship magazines and financial documents. My dad was starting his entrepreneurial journey, after more than 20 years working in a factory.

He was probably a bit younger than me now, full of excitement and determined to make it on his own.

Post revolution, when industrial setups were being down sized and markets opened, the capitalistic dream became almost the only option for middle class families that ended up suddenly jobless.

My father’s first endeavor didn’t work out as he was planning. He started something else and when that didn’t work out, another idea came to life. I believe that through all those disappointments and “failures,” it was the capacity to dream that kept him going. I remember him coming home from some meetings extremely excited and inspired by a certain person he just met, or a new idea.

I could argue it was both the need and the capacity to dream that kept him going.

The Need to Dream

Looking at our reality today I wonder if we still have a need to dream, the “fire” that keeps us wanting something greater for ourselves and for the world around us. The care we talk about in our teachings ignites a desire to make it happen.

My dad’s need was to put food on the table for his family and to ensure a better future for his children.

He wasn’t thinking of clothes, cars, and houses, but the exposure to a different way of thinking that he didn’t have as a child. He was ultimately bridging the gap in our education.

I don’t think he even realized that he was preparing us for a different and unknown future.

Today, taking an airplane view, it looks like we have covered the basis and much more. We have a safe roof, food, and comfort beyond our needs. Yet we see a generation of young adults suffering.

Could it be that in our attempt, as parents, to provide the best for our children we steal their opportunity to find their inner fire that moves them further?

“How could the nature of man ever reach its full potential without challenge and danger?” Jordan Peterson

Do our children understand our struggle? Maybe we keep saying yes to all their wants and needs hoping they will be happy.

In our attempt to keep them safe and give them what we were missing (material and emotional) we might disempower them.

I was often judging my parents for giving me more responsibility than I was ready to take or for their inability to deal with emotions, discounting “my feelings.”

We were on our own since we were 7 years old for 2 hours at home after school. If a teacher would complain, we were questioned instead of the teacher. I walked to school every day of my life, rain or shine.

Today is quite different, partly because the world is different but also because we tend to run away from pain and discomfort.

Teachers cannot speak their mind because parents will revolt. Parents are afraid to say no so their child won’t cry or suffer. As a result, children grow with fewer boundaries and less accountability.

If we put everything on a platter for our children, what’s left for them to do?

With our catering to our children, is it a surprise that they are on their screens much of the day? Or that they’re tempted to explore everything, sometimes to their detriment, just to feel a challenge?

As much as I’m trying to shelter my kids from challenges and responsibilities, they are less capable of moving through the world independently.

The fact that I have more possibilities to fulfill their wants today doesn’t mean I have to.

Maybe by learning to distinguish better between wants and needs we can guide our children to deal with the temporary discomfort for the sake of understanding their own limits and capabilities.

As parents we’re searching for our own way also, a middle path between our childhood wounds and the need for perfection.

Whether we want to be or not, we are the role models for our children. Being a role model doesn’t mean we have to be perfect and always happy.

Our children need to connect to struggles, discomfort and pain. Their struggles become great teachers and inspiration for their dreams.

Follow our Blog for our next post on Cultivating Our Ability to Dream on April 14th.

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