I loved this post from blogger Caleb Gardener about nurturing children’s imaginations with regard to their perception of themselves and their dreams/goals. I believe I “thought big” as a child, but somewhere along the way (and in large part due to religious ideas that developed for my parents later in my childhood and teen years) I didn’t nurture/get nurtured in this way.
As Caleb puts it,
I’d much rather encourage him to do something he loves, to make a difference, to think for himself – to live life to the fullest. The outputs can be a natural extension of that, but I’d rather focus on the outcomes of a life well-lived.
(I got nurtured other ways, and followed many interests and creative skills, to be sure. I see the difference being that I was being raised to fulfill one traditional role, wife/mother. Interests and creative skills merely determined how resourcefully I’d be able to fill that role, rather than my interests and skills being integral to finding my role in the world, and possibly to supporting me whether I ever became a wife/mother or not.)
I would like to instill in my child a sense that anything is possible and his or her dreams as a child can feed and inspire the adult they will become. They might not become a Ninja Ghost Super Hero, but they might, I dunno, learn to protect valuable data from internet-based thieves. They might not become astronauts… but they might.