The news recently featured a story about NFL running back Arian Foster sharing the motivational story of his success with school children. The gist of his advice: don't let adults tell you that you can't do something. Well-meaning teachers and coaches in his youth discouraged Foster from his dream of playing in the NFL, and suggested that he should plan on doing something else. Luckily he chose not to listen.
My husband disagrees with Foster. He wishes someone had taken him aside as a kid and pointed out that his dream of playing in the NBA was perhaps a bit far-fetched. This got me thinking: do I want to raise Em as a realist or an idealist? Is there a way to achieve the delicate balance between the two, and instill in her a pragmatic confidence?
I tend to be more of an idealist. What's the harm in hope? Isn't the elevating and subsequent dashing of hopes a key ingredient in experiencing life? Isn't dealing with disappointment a crucial lesson to learn? I'm terribly grateful that no one disparaged my second grade dream of becoming an author. (Nope, still haven't given up on that one...) Because I may not have been brave enough to ignore them.
When Em comes to me in a few years with her own pipe dreams, I hope I can smile and assure her that if she works very, very hard, she can accomplish her goals. Because even if she doesn't become the president of United States, or an astronaut, the principles of dedication and believing will serve her well. I'll try to let her come to terms with reality in her own way and in her own time.