“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” – Gloria Steinem
“Mommy, when I grow up, I’m going to have a store of my own and sell only chocolate milk to drink,” proclaimed Hannah one day as we were driving in the car on our way home from the grocery store. “And I will have toys for everyone to play with, and the only way to get into my store will be to go down the slide!”
I grinned and said, “That sounds like an amazing store!”
“Yes,” she stated matter-of-factly. “And you can do the cooking; Daddy can wash the dishes; and Ephraim can greet people because he’s too little to do anything else.”
“Well, how much will it cost for your mom to eat at your store?” I expected her to tell me that there would be no charge for me, but she took it one step further.
“Mom, I don’t need any money except for one dollar to ride on those things at the mall. So I will pay for your food.”
Isn’t it sweet to hear the dreams of a three-year-old? I know so many people nowadays who are quick to squelch their child’s imagination, declaring that it is best to see everything that is real and not to set their sights on “chocolate milk daydreams.” But I counter with this – why can’t they daydream? If my little girl wants to sell only chocolate milk, then why couldn’t she?
This world is full of a lot of harsh realities – things we become only too aware of when we grow into adulthood. Whatever happened to our own “chocolate milk daydreams”?
Somewhere along the way, we seem to forget that our world has only grown into what it is today because of people who dared not only to daydream but also to make those dreams a reality. I am sure many people laughed at the Wright brothers as they dreamed and planned and worked on a flying contraption. Yet, today there aren’t very many people who can say they have never flown in an airplane.
If our forefathers had not had the dreams of a New World where they could worship as they pleased, then we would not be living where we are today! If men like Henry Ford had not dreamed of a world with automobiles, we wouldn’t be able to go all of the places we can go today on a tank of gasoline.
Look around the country, and you will see many children who are no longer dreaming. Children today are not being taught how to use their imaginations. Television, game systems, and the computer take over as a child no longer has to figure out ways to entertain himself. I am not against television or game systems or computers, but they are very limited at my house because I want my children to explore, discover, create! I know many children personally who do not want to do those very things simply because they don’t know how to begin!
It will be a sad day in our world if this generation grows up to create nothing. What will they accomplish? How will they contribute to the betterment of mankind? If the part of the brain that is used to imagine being a pirate or a princess (or sometimes at our house a Spiderman-princess) goes unused, what will become of our children?
Would Hannah be successful selling only chocolate milk and allowing everyone to play with her toys? I don’t know, but I think she would have a lot of fun trying! And I think she would definitely provide a little pick-me-up for her customers! Who am I to put down her plans? Even if her dreams change, how will her opinion of me change if I throw some cold water over her plans? Doesn’t she deserve to have me in her corner, cheering on her every endeavor? As parents, we need to be our children’s biggest fans! Encourage them, embrace their ideas, and catch them if their plans fail. But never, never, never discourage them from trying!
As I write this, it’s a beautiful, sunny day. So if your children are sitting in front of the television or computer right now, send them outside! Let them create their own world! That is the best way to save our planet, in my honest opinion.