A Warning to All Practical Parents

When she was four, Grace dreamed of becoming a bus driver. Her dreams have since changed. Now, at 16 years of age, she wants to write film scores, and compose symphonic music. She plans on getting a PhD one day in music composition or something like that. For now, she is a bassoon player for symphonic band, plays clarinet in marching band and is the TA in percussion class. Obviously she loves music.

A movie score writer though? It’s a big dream…and it’s a crazy dream. Is it possible?

This last week on the path to her dream, Grace auditioned to become Drum Major for marching band, but as a junior, this is difficult since it’s usually given to seniors. Only two people out of the entire 200 person marching band are chosen.

A few years ago, my other daughter Julia (the one that just left for college), told Steve and I that she wanted to go to Seattle Pacific University, but when we found out how much it would cost, we all tossed out the idea because it seemed impractical. Forgive me God for doubting.

This last year, when applying for colleges, Seattle Pacific wasn’t even on the radar, but they offered Julia a free application. On a whim, she decided to apply. Months later, when they offered her a big scholarship, we were amazed.

How often as parents do we let our practical thoughts get in the way of us empowering our children to dream BIG?

What I Have Been Learning from Sylvia

It wasn’t by accident that on the same week Julia would leave for school and Grace would audition for Drum Major, we would host a former sponsored child with Compassion to stay with us for a few days.

The other night, Sylvia spoke at our youth group. She spoke about her life in Bolivia and how living in poverty is more about the absence of a dream than the absence of material possessions. So often we think it’s a physical thing, but physical poverty is only a small part of poverty. It’s what the mind believes that keeps people trapped in poverty. Sylvia talked about her Compassion project, and how she learned to dream. “I want to own a factory one day, so that I can make money to open schools for children who live in poverty. I know this is a big dream, but I have learned that with God, all things are possible.”

Sylvia ended up getting second place in all her city in physics in her high school exams, and then she ended up being chosen for the Leadership Development Program through Compassion. She went on to college, and recently completed her degree in Industrial Engineering. It was hard work, but the girl is keeping her eyes on this dream. She fully plans to find a way to save money, and open a factory so that her dreams will be accomplished.

“When God gives us the dream, He also makes a way for us to achieve that dream,” says Sylvia.

The other night at youth group, Sylvia asked a couple kids what they wanted to do with their lives. “What are your dreams?” she asked a couple of kids.

Their response surprised her. They didn’t really know what they wanted to do, so they couldn’t give her an answer.

Later that night, Sylvia said to me, “I don’t understand how these youth don’t have dreams.”

I thought about this. We live in the “land of opportunity”. Here is a young woman from Bolivia that overcame all obstacles of poverty, because she held tight to a simple promise that…all things are possible with God. As she stands in America and sees our wealth, it must be hard for her to imagine how our youth wouldn’t have dreams. Yet, many young people in our country lack direction, and can’t seem to identify their dreams. Where did the dream go? I keep thinking about what Sylvia said in regards to poverty. She said, “poverty is more about the lack of a dream than the lack of possessions.”

What messages do children hear from their parents that keep them from dreaming big?

“We can’t afford that.”

“That is not practical.”

“That is silly.”

“There is no way that will work.”

Steve and I cried a lot over the last few days while saying goodbye to Julia. But more than just sad tears, we had tears of joy over what God has done for her. God provided a way for her to go to the college she dreamed of.  While God was opening the doors for Julia, Steve and I couldn’t see the doorknob in front of her. Money was the obstacle.

I have come to the conclusion that I need to earnestly pray with my kids about their dreams. I never want to squelch what dreams they have.  To prevent my own children of falling prey to the poverty of the mind, I need to encourage them to hold on to those dreams that God has given them, even if those dreams seem a little crazy, impractical and impossible.  Possibly God wants to WOW my kids with His sovereignty in their lives. Possibly God wants to WOW me too.

On Friday afternoon, about an hour before we said goodbye to Julia, we received a call from Grace, who was back home. Her voice was quivering, “Mom and Dad, I was chosen as the Drum Major for marching band.”

DSC_0907May God give my kids big, crazy, impractical dreams, so that we all may see His hand in their lives when those dreams are made real!

2 Comments on “A Warning to All Practical Parents

  1. Well said mom, I am blessed to grow up in a home where we were encouraged to dream. Here at SPU I have been asking people about their dreams, thinking through this exact topic, and too many have said they have no idea. Thank you for sharing this and raising me the way you did. I am truly blessed.

  2. Patricia, your thoughts are so timely in my own life now. This was beautifully transparent and beautifully written. Thank you.

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