Dreams, we all have them, are essential to our very being. Sometimes our children have dreams that we don’t believe in because we don’t see how they can possibly come true. Often we try to quash those dreams because, being well-intentioned for our children, we don’t want them to be disappointed. However, what we end up doing with our good intentions is quashing their confidence and injuring their spirit in ways we may never recognize.
When I worked with teens in foster care I had a client who wanted to spend the rest of his life skateboarding. He carried his skateboard with him wherever he went and took every opportunity to ride it. He dreamed of being a professional skateboarder even though he was uncoordinated and had very little skill. He also had several major mental health issues that made it likely that he would have significant difficulty finding and holding a job.
While it was not likely that he would ever master skateboarding, his dream gave him a reason to get up in the morning. Rather than take that away from him, I encouraged him to find other things that he could do related to skateboards. I suggested that it might be a good way to earn some money while developing his skating ability.
I conducted a skill assessment and discovered that he had some ability in drawing. I encouraged him to create skateboard art. He decided to create unique art to decorate the skateboard with. He made several designs and with my assistance, we contacted a company that makes skateboards and they liked his designs so much that they bought all of them. He then had the idea to make designs to silkscreen on tee shirts and created a thriving business as a graphic designer of skateboarding art.
During this time, this young man found a confidence that he didn’t have before. He started believing that he could not only take care of himself financially, but that he could have a successful business and therefore a successful life. I watched as his self-esteem blossomed and he grew in many ways, including taking an active part in managing his mental health issues.
Our children are capable of amazing things if we support them in their dreams or even with just their ideas. There are many stories of teens creating million dollar businesses because their parents supported them. One young women created a line of greeting cards for teens because she and her friends used to complain they couldn’t find cards that made sense for their age. A major greeting card company paid her millions for her designs. Another young man didn’t like using scented candles in glass jars because he thought they were too feminine; his parents supported his idea to create more masculine scented candles in cans which he calls Man Cans. At 19 years old he is now a millionaire CEO of his own company.
What impossible dreams do your children have that you can encourage and support them in? With a little thought it isn’t difficult to help them find ways to keep that dream alive by encouraging things that they can do related to their passions. In doing that, you are raising happy, confident kids who aren’t afraid to follow their passions and create the life of their dreams.
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