I wonder how many children have ideas and dreams, which they squelch early on. I wonder how many dreams are hidden in tight knots in hearts, and after a while just sort of get buried deeper.
At 5, I dreamed of dancing as I twirled around the house. After talking my parents into tap dancing classes, I quit after the first class because “the other kids danced better”‘. I had no idea how to move my feet. My parents had absolutely no background in, or reference points for, dance and music. I became so self-critical that I gave up and dodged all comments about dancing. Later, I wanted to learn tennis and piano, and hung in there through the awkward early learning stages.
The dancing story makes me sad – I was so passionate about dancing. I get curious about what made the tennis and piano work, yet, not the dancing. One difference was that I didn’t have an encouraging relationship that both let me know that I could do it, and supported and motivated me through the beginning little steps and stages. The good news is, thirty-five years later, I began to dance and am still at it. I am passionate about movement. Due to the encouragement and faith of two early-on teachers, my love of dance became stronger than the awkwardness of learning.
It’s easy to underestimate the value of one person believing in the dreams and abilities of a child. One of my mentors, Howard Glasser (childrenssuccessfoundation.com), has mastered the art of faith and encouragement of children who have ceased to believe in themselves. Glasser, the founder of The Children’s Success Foundation and The Nurtured Heart Approach, teaches the art of recognizing the greatness in children and ourselves by heart-based acknowledgement of the smallest steps of courage, integrity, and intention. The method clearly inspires and motivates children.
How do we teach children the patience of staying with a goal? What has been the difference between times when you gave up on a dream and when you persisted? What can we learn from children whom we have seen grab hold of, or give up on, a dream? How can you make a difference?