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Teaching Kids to Think Big

Jun 13, 2011

by Caleb Gardner


Caleb Gardner is an amateur father and husband who writes at The Exceptional Man and dabbles in photography, design, and music. When listening to the cacophony of modern-day America, Caleb prefers a side of Scotch. He calls Chicago home, and in winter, less-nice things.

I recently saw an adorable video by Red Balloon, an English-language school in Brazil. The students say what they want to be when they grow up, and the school makes them official business cards for their chosen profession – even if it happens to be “Dinosaur Hunter.”


Imagine if we were all given this degree of creative freedom from such a young age. We start with this kind of imaginative power and the uninhibited ability to create any sort of future for ourselves — then “growing up” becomes growing to fit into any number of predetermined societal boxes. What I like about Red Balloon’s project is that it gives these kids something tangible, something they can literally hold in their hands in order to remember how big their dreams were. (Plus the cards are just cool. I really want the “Ninja Ghost Super Hero” one for myself.)

My son isn’t yet at the point where he’s dreaming of being a dinosaur hunter, but this video got me thinking about how to eventually do something like this for him. He’s just at the age where his imagination is starting to bloom, and my wife and I see it as something fragile that needs to be cultivated. We want to be intentional about it. His imagination – or lack thereof – will affect his entire life.

In my experience, parents are often the ones who end up inhibiting big dreams in their children – not for sinister reasons, of course, but because “real life” demands a certain level of grounding; one can’t always play, so he’ll have to buckle down and get to work. My wife and I will also have to eventually pass along these modern-day mores, and therein lies the rub: how do we let him think as big as “dinosaur hunter” while impressing upon him common sense and work ethic? How do we encourage him to keep his head in the clouds, while keeping his feet moving on the ground?



Photo by Red Balloon

My parents always focused on the outputs of what they saw as a successful life: get a steady job, get married, have kids, open a 401(k), die as materially well-off as possible. Their motivations were pure, of course, and I think there is something to be said about each generation working hard to help the next get a foot in the door. But I think this is where we can change the definition of success for our son. 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.

Thankfully we have a few years until we seriously have to think this through, but until then I’d love to hear from some more experienced parents about how you tackle this challenge. How do you help your kids “think big”? Any tips for the rest of us?

More Parenting PostsHandmade Kids Series


  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 8 years ago

    This is such a great post! I give my daughter everything to craft with. We craft together and I love how much she enjoys herself. I often wonder what she will grow up to be and if she will continue to express herself through creating. Its a wonderful thing!!! I also just saw on the news the little 4 year old girl whose paintings were put in an exhibition and were selling for thousands! Incredible!!!

  • brightANDcloudy

    brightANDcloudy said 8 years ago

    this is awesome. i do not have children yet, but my nephew would have loved business cards. he is constantly telling us what he will be and he is so sure of himself (until it changes). its great.

  • beliz82

    beliz82 said 8 years ago

    Wonderful Post Thank you very much for sharing !!

  • georgiedesigns

    georgiedesigns said 8 years ago

    Wonderful and thought provoking post! I often see myself pushing my extremely intelligent 4 year old into the direction of being a doctor or astronaut or scientist. Then she says, "I want to make jewelry like you!" and I wonder why it is so hard to accept the latter. I pushed my Master's Degree to the side and started my own very successful business and I am MUCH happier! So why do I not think that is good enough for her? Something to ponder and I look forward to reading the responses! Thank you for the post!

  • Mikono

    Mikono said 8 years ago

    What an interesting post! I have a one year old daughter and wants to do the same for her - cultivate a love for life, living it to the fullest, teach her that she can be whatever she dreams to be, yet at the same time, wanting her to learn to be grounded. Great post!

  • sacredsuds

    sacredsuds said 8 years ago

    Aside from hygiene, manners, and nutritionally sound eating habits, we don't really push our kids in any direction. We laugh and tell our 7yo son, "That was awesome!" when he shows wit, and we were genuinely floored (and cried buckets of happy tears) when our 5yo skated out onto the ice for her ice show. But as far as dreaming big career-wise, I don't think either one of us have that sort of ambition for our kids. If they'd rather travel the world with their college fund than go to college, I think we'd be okay with that. In some ways I think it would be more educational. Mostly we just want them to grow up kind and compassionate, with a zest for life.

  • SoliDeoGloriaSDG

    SoliDeoGloriaSDG said 8 years ago

    Love the video!

  • blynkenandnod

    blynkenandnod said 8 years ago

    For a while, my little 3 year old has herself absolutely convinced that her dad and I have made everything in her life, from a bike to her bed. We've accidentally stumbled into a family culture that revolves around making things and defining our own sense of beautiful. Now, not only do my children believe we can make anything, they believe that they have this same power. We never sat them down and told them they could do it. We simply modeled it (each in our own ways) and provided opportunities for them to try. It can get messy, but it's been grand to see what they accomplish in spite of our best efforts to teach them to be practical. (We're still working on the clean-up part) :)

  • Krystyna81

    Krystyna81 said 8 years ago

    as parents we can always increase our children's circle of knowledge...when taking my children to the beach, we not only play, but build a sundial and collect rocks, discussing what category they fall into (can you name 3 types of rocks...go!!!) exposing them to as many different ideas as possible helps them become well-rounded and more aware of what they like, and are interested in. my goal for my children? that they will master the Art of Conversation, not the art of the Tweet. That they can count 10 dear close friends on their hands, not 300 acquaintances on FB. That they awake every day to do what they love.

  • irinacarmen

    irinacarmen said 8 years ago

    I love it!!

  • OldSchoolGoods

    OldSchoolGoods said 8 years ago

    Great post and well said Krystyna81!

  • vintagebutterfly94

    vintagebutterfly94 said 8 years ago

    Darn, I was hoping for more answers myself! However, since my kids are now 11 and 10, they are old enough to actually try doing some of the things they dream of. This summer, their dad is giving them each 50 dollars of "venture capital" to start their own business. My oldest is going to try her hand at home-made note-cards, running her own etsy shop. My son is starting a dog poop scooping service. They bought paper and supplies, a bucket, gloves and a pooper scooper. Right now, they are kind of driving me crazy wanting my help an direction while I'm trying to do the work I usually do while they are in school. I think this is the make or break point....can I figure out how to support them and still do my own responsibilities? I think if I can, they might have a shot at real greatness... No pressure or anything!

  • calebgardner

    calebgardner said 8 years ago

    Thanks guys! Love hearing how other people are getting creative about getting creative. :)

  • GOLDhearted

    GOLDhearted said 8 years ago

    I definitely think that one of the most important things a parent can do is incite creativity in a child. It has truly made me become more aware of who I am as a person and what I want to do as a career. I'd much rather be happy than at a job I don't love because I didn't explore the options. :)

  • funktionslust

    funktionslust said 8 years ago

    i wish we could all stay children...not really sure what the point was of growing up??

  • CrinkleDreams

    CrinkleDreams said 8 years ago

    As the mom of an 18yo who just graduated, I can only suggest you follow your heart. Every kid is different and will have different goals. Just support them happily. The son isn't sure yet what he wants to do and I don't blame him, but he does know that he wants to go abroad again and he wants to make an impact on the world. I couldn't ask for anything more than him to follow his dream, but hope that he manages to find a way to support himself along the way. ;)

  • SimpleTraditions

    SimpleTraditions said 8 years ago

    What an awesome post!!! Thank you so much! Sometimes we as parents need reminders to let our kids dream big!

  • outofline

    outofline said 8 years ago

    Love this! My daughter spent her early years in Waldorf school, she didn't learn to read until the third grade. The children then have a lot of time to see the world for themselves and develop their imagination. She's 15 now and in public high school, she gets good grades, has a great sense of self, and is very self motivated. This made me realize that as parents it's nice to step back, no need to push and compete with how fast our children can do this or that. Oh...and now she loves to read, going through a phase of the "the classics" right now:)

  • misty714

    misty714 said 8 years ago

    I am helping to raise my great neice and nephew. I would hope that they will always be true to themselves and respect the planet and others. I have hope and faith that they will create a life for themselves that is productive as therein lies happiness. Thanks for sharing your personal moments! misty714

  • ModernKidsWallArt

    ModernKidsWallArt said 8 years ago

    I loved the business card idea! I have 2 little budding entrepreneur's who look at what mom and dad do, and can hardly wait to have their own businesses. Thanks for the great post!

  • LampShadeDesigns

    LampShadeDesigns said 8 years ago

    My 8 year old wants so badly to make and sell something on etsy and I really would love to find a way to help her without being discouraging. I've thought about adding a section to my shop called "things my 8 yr old makes". I'd much rather help her do that than the tired, old lemonade stand...

  • Rewoodtoys

    Rewoodtoys said 8 years ago

    What an awesome post. Those business cards are incredible. How wonderful to be able to nurture creativity for these children! Western society is so career driven, it is nice to know that others out there are somewhat going against the grain. I will definitely be implementing these with my kids :)

  • CashmereJewels

    CashmereJewels said 8 years ago

    i think we must encourage children to dream and tell them that they can do anything! only through being supportive we could raise children that rely on their own talents and abilities and believe in themselves instead of looking to parents to provide for them for the rest of their lives, we should stop telling children "you can't do this or that", we should stop being realistic we should be encouraging and children will eventually figure out how to make the best out of their craziest dreams!!! all they need is us to be on their side!

  • TheMillineryShop

    TheMillineryShop said 8 years ago

    Those business cards are a hoot. Of course, kids ARE a hoot, utterly creative and honest. Somewhere along the line we lose much of that and with it, lots of fun leeches out of life. Kids help remind us to put it back in.

  • pitterpattertutus

    pitterpattertutus said 8 years ago

    This is all so true and important. Right on!

  • wahlrus

    wahlrus said 8 years ago

    ADORABLE! This is the kind of out-of-the-box teaching that I get so excited about! I wish my toddlers would hurry up and grow so we can do this!....wait, no. I really don't. :) EtsyLove from, Jamie and John

  • aiek

    aiek said 8 years ago

    Amen to that! What a great post.

  • ikabags

    ikabags said 8 years ago

    What an awesome post !

  • marthamarques

    marthamarques said 8 years ago

    For nine years of their childhood my children lived in Hawaii in the middle of the jungle with solar power and no indoor plumbing (we did have a glorious outdoor bath house). I did homeschool for most of those years. There was only one car and when my husband left for work that was gone. I noticed, after a while, that instead of the question "Where are we going today?" or even "What are we going to do today?" I was hearing "What are we going to make today?" We have since moved to the mainland and have indoor plumbing in a nice Victorian in Portland, Maine. My kids are 33, 27 and 20 now and are each successful in their own way. But they all have a basic feeling of competence. They believe that what they do matters, that they can make or somehow create what they can imagine, that they have the skills to take care of themselves and others. I don't think the temporary poverty and isolation is essential to creating that, but in our case I think it may actually have been helpful.

  • TandJsoaps

    TandJsoaps said 8 years ago

    Yipppeeee!!!! Great post!

  • wonbien

    wonbien said 8 years ago

    Yeah I keep telling my daughter she wants to be a writer but she keeps on changing her mind haha. She wants to be a new thing every day and sometimes she mashes up careers. So funny. Great article.

  • ScrappyTudeStudios

    ScrappyTudeStudios said 8 years ago

    Awesome! What a great thing for a kid to look back on! I hold with the adage "Do what you are" and give my kids that very advice. Success isn't measured in $. If my parents had made me a business card when I was a young'un, it would have said "Ballerina & Blood Donor". At least one of them came true... :-)

  • HellYeahISew

    HellYeahISew said 8 years ago

    This is the best post I've seen on Etsy. Ever.

  • IcingOnTheCupcake

    IcingOnTheCupcake said 8 years ago

    Excellent way to encourage kids to dream BIG! Love this!

  • MariaSarmiento

    MariaSarmiento said 8 years ago

    Love the idea. I have a three years boy and I hope he keeps dreaming as he does now. Inventing stories and a fresh look of life.Love how they see the world, without adults influence. No prejudice, censorship nor vogue. I would love all of us were children, free to express and create without limits. I admire their art and it would be great if all of us could see it, share it and feel it.

  • maechevrette

    maechevrette said 8 years ago

    What a cool article. There is so much to be said for parents who put a lot of intention and energy into furthering the creative abilities and imagination of their young (and older!) children. I graduated from college 2 years ago, found a "good" job that used my degree, but later found the "right" job that used my talents-- and I have no one to thank more than my mom, who ran a frugal household but always provided me with opportunities to dream big and the freedom to be creative. Imagine what the world would be like if every child was encouraged to dream big-- and didn't lose that fire even in the adult world of societal and financial expectations? I have so much respect for parents who go the extra mile to do this for their children, and I do believe it pays off in life-changing ways.

  • PoeticLove

    PoeticLove said 8 years ago

    Love the post and video!! Thank you for sharing. My daugher is only 5 months old, but I will definitely help her make business cards when she chooses a career. Lol I think parents want the best for their children but let their own dreams of what they want for them get in the way. I'll have to work on that as well in the coming years!

  • RedorGrayArt

    RedorGrayArt said 8 years ago

    i thank my mom for the artistic way she raised me .. i am a music and movement preschool teacher and always have the sheer joy of watching children blossom while not being expected to be any other way in my classroom but themselves..its a really cool job ~ then i come home to quiet and work on my etsy shop of both worlds ..thanks for a wonder filled post ~

  • treasurebooth

    treasurebooth said 8 years ago

    Really neat post! I'm not a parent yet, so I can't offer any tips on that. However, I taught preschool for 6 years and just want to post on a project we did with our students. We gave each a child (ages 4-5) a disposable camera and throughout the school week they took photos in the classroom, on the playground, etc. We eventually developed all of the film and the kids created albums of their work. They were really proud of their photos! In addition to giving them something tangible and a solid sense of their own unique perspective, we (teachers and parents) were absolutely thrilled to share in it. This is obviously something that parents can do with their children at home, and I happen to think it's a really fun project :)

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 8 years ago

    Very touching post, I come from a family of creative people who never quite reached their potential because of 'real life' but I think eventually you re-evaluate what's important in life rather than the pursuit of tangeable wealth.

  • TheScarfTree

    TheScarfTree said 8 years ago

    It is all about balance, and a very tricky balance at that. In reading your article and understanding you are a first time parent, I can give you some sound advice, don't try and over analzyze your child. As they grow up going through many phases (as being a dinasour hunter, and other things you could not bare to think that your child would want to they get older), therefore don't take any of this to seriously and just let the child be, as stages pass and what you focus on today is long gone tomorrow, they won't even remember that they wanted to be some of the things (tomorrow I want to be a butterfuly catcher or a baker), but through life experience, what they want to be will come out very naturally - just with natural interest in your child and general parental support and guidance. Creativity is the best for a child and that is what makes them the happiest - encourage that and you will open all the incoming and outgoing streams of thought necessary for all thought process's! You are doing very well just thinking about this already! All the best to you and your family! Have fun!

  • hmeyerboothby

    hmeyerboothby said 8 years ago

    I've got my older kids (11 and 8) doing life boards, we're scouring magazines looking for pictures of what best represents what we want our futures to look like. Of course my son is pulling every picture of a car he can but he's also still pulling pictures of pirates, and my daughter is apparently dreaming about home decor!! Of course we'll see as the project progresses if their 'wants' progress as well from things to ways of being, we're not done yet by far!!

  • ohbabydotcom

    ohbabydotcom said 8 years ago

    Wonderful videos! So sweet.

  • PurdyThings

    PurdyThings said 8 years ago

    I LOVE this!!!! And I"m so happy it's posted on Etsy!!! Thank you so much!! I'm fortunate I grew up where my creativity was encouraged... and so are my kids, and when you let their imagination run wild, it's so amazing what they come up with!

  • MissHildebrandt

    MissHildebrandt said 8 years ago

    Get rid of cable.

  • ACupOfSparkle

    ACupOfSparkle said 8 years ago


  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 8 years ago

    Great article! Some children from a very young age know exactly what they want to do, more power to them!

  • mercimarcel

    mercimarcel said 8 years ago

    Children are sponges. Soak them with knowledge!

  • littlebugjewelry

    littlebugjewelry said 8 years ago

    I don't know the answer, but as a mom of two girls who alternately say they are going to be 'artists' or 'mermaids' when they grow up . . .I'd love to know what the answer is!

  • sidneyann

    sidneyann said 8 years ago

    Seriously great post. Coming from a family of what I call "dream crushers", this truly inspires me to reach out. This makes me want to teach art to kids. Everyone should know --and especially when they're young and absorbent-- that anything is possible. Thanks.

  • WhatOnceWas

    WhatOnceWas said 8 years ago

    I love this quote---and I tried to live it while I was raising my kids! We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. ~Stacia Tauscher

  • DamaUSA

    DamaUSA said 8 years ago

    What a great idea. Every minute since we are born we absorb more and more information about what we "cant" or "should not" do. Lets teach young kids to dream big and be happy with themselves.:) Great post. This is inspiring.

  • MerCurios

    MerCurios said 8 years ago

    What a wonderful post! My son wants to be a Dinosaur Hunter too & I refuse to tell him otherwise. Who knows, Dinosaur Hunting could become Paleontologist! I grew up with my grandparents & we never talked about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Maybe it was the generation, who knows. If I could go back and do it all over again, I would be an Archeologist. I think that comes across in my creations too as I always prefer raw and natural materials. But I digress... Since Day one, I have always told my son he could be ANYTHING when he grows up including a professional toy player, which was one of his choices. Mattel & Fisher Price have Quality Control, don't they and that's just another word for a "professional toy player" after all. He could even grow up to invent a cool toy, etc... All things are possible & never give up on your dreams! They may have to be tweaked a little along the way, but never, ever, ever give up on them! Again, what a great article! Thank you!

  • woolies

    woolies said 8 years ago

    This is a topic i could go on and on about. I highly encourage 'open ended play', that encourages the childs imagation to grow and grow. My 2 boys are now teenagers, and for years I've encouraged them to be whatever they want to be - with one caveat. I want them to find something to do in life that will give them purpose. That isn't, in the end, just a paycheck. (check out toys by my team-members, the NaturalKids Team).

  • Withflower212

    Withflower212 said 8 years ago

    My parents were not dream crushers. While they agreed with me when I finally decided I was not graceful (and gave up baseball), they were not discouraging. They encouraged me & reminded me of my strengths. Now, I'm doing something many thought was impossible. As a child I couldn't read at grade level. After testing, it was discovered I was dyslexic. My parents didn't limit what they believed I could do. I worked hard and made honor society, my undergraduate degree is in English Education, and I'm studying to get my Masters in Special Education. I didn't think my "disability" could keep me from becoming a teacher... and my parents never said it could either. Good thing. :-)

  • StylesbyHolly

    StylesbyHolly said 8 years ago

    A wonderful post! I love this idea, it encourages so much creativity as a child ages. And it's always nice to see the journey from such a young age to an adult!

  • KieleOfTheSea

    KieleOfTheSea said 8 years ago

    this is something that is so important to me. how it's affected my life, and what i want to do for my children. i was lucky to grow up with a family who indulged my creativity and allowed me to be who i wanted to be. but, i do live in a society where i feel the need to put pressure on myself to have that tangible success, money and a material life to some extent. i don't think we can keep children from feeling this pressure, but i do think we can allow them to feel like it's okay to explore and question. and that their imaginations are free and always should be. indulge that however you can. knowing how to "make" things (whether it's food, art, music, ...) instills confidence. and i think as an adult, (someone above said this well...) we learn to re-evaluate the meaning of success. and, if we have been given the proper tools of love and respect and confidence and freedom a kid, then as an adult we can learn to follow our hearts, knowing that we'll be much happier this way, and that THAT is success, and THAT is a purpose that's just as respectable as any other.

  • LoveYourBling

    LoveYourBling said 8 years ago

    so cute!

  • thevelvetheart

    thevelvetheart said 8 years ago

    So well put! I was taught to enjoy creative things, but was also taught that they wouldn't lead to a stable career. I'm so glad I decided to look beyond that way of thinking and see the possibilities!

  • EnRouteStudio

    EnRouteStudio said 8 years ago

    :) One of my favorite online personalities. . . I'm a fan of the Exceptional Man!

  • bradshawmeadows

    bradshawmeadows said 8 years ago

    i want to make the business cards for my kids right now....what a wonderful idea.... i have a ten year old and a ten month old...both are growing up surrounded by a house filled with creativity, whether it is my studio, my husbands music and foodie creativity or their own endeavors...and yes a ten month old has creative endeavors...i clean them up daily.... when my now, ten year old was younger, he often INSISTED on giving other kids art supplies for presents because their parents didn't buy them a former art teacher, i often gave away art supplies because i found out alot of kids in fact were not given them at home...Parents were either afraid of the mess, or didn't want to waste the money...( yes i gasped too) the thing about creativity, is that it is always present....and it is integral in every aspect of our lives....getting parents to understand this...and helping kids understand this was always a goal of mine...

  • jungledread

    jungledread said 8 years ago

    Reading educational blogs etc, it does seem that traditional education "dumbs duwn" individuals by removing their creativity. Ken Robinson's TED talk is an excellent place to start understanding what aspects of creativity are important for the future growth of a person/child

  • BeSaltAndLight

    BeSaltAndLight said 8 years ago

    It is difficult, isn't it - to encourage your children to shoot for the moon, and yet be sensible and grounded. I guess I need to read through these posts and possibly get some answers myself!

  • ChristinaRomeo

    ChristinaRomeo said 8 years ago

    I am a full supporter of my children encouraging the gifts that each one owns. I love this post as it is so inspiring, honest, and hopeful. My youngest son Finn spends a lot of his time creating, fixing, making things...I see so much of myself in him. I constantly water his seed, give it some sunshine and totally enjoy watching him grow, amazing. He wanted badly to open an Etsy shop so we did Check it out as I think it is appropriate for this post. I will need to get him a business card now!!

  • TwoKidsOneMom

    TwoKidsOneMom said 8 years ago

    Wonderful article! I just adore the video! As far as my kids go, I do try to let them think outside the box without criticism as often as I can. My daughter showed me a list of her inventions this evening. One was for a folding chair walking table. You can use the folding chair for a chair, but if you carrying it on your back, you've also got a table! Well, how cool is that!? I also just opened a store here on etsy for my kids. They've been making bracelets and wanted to make some money too. I didn't think a bracelet stall on our roadside would be successful, so we decided to try etsy instead. They've had 3 sales already and are just tickled pink. I really try to accommodate their ideas whenever I can.

  • hattieshouse

    hattieshouse said 8 years ago

    I remember seeing a funny video of a little boy in a car with his mother crying. When his mom asked what was wrong, in between tears streaming into his mouth and gulping for air, he said "Because people tell me I am too young to be the governor of New Jersey". But what if that day, his Mom had not said these people are right, but had instead taken him home and helped him to develop his political campaign for the state of New Jersey at the age of 4? It is a sad thing, that as adults our real world thinking happens to get in the way of a child's innate sense of what is possible everyday!

  • redhardwick

    redhardwick said 8 years ago

    Great article!

  • stepbackink

    stepbackink said 8 years ago

    One thing I did with my children when they were real young is talk to them and teach them like little adults. Logic and reason were always practiced when playing, studying, shopping or what ever activities were engaged in. I was lucky enough to start my business when my kids were just born, so they spent every minute of the day with me. I encouraged them to watch and work for money at a real young age and paid very close attention to their needs and likings. Taking great care in letting them be the children they are. When they grew older they both became the shrewdest business women. Each is working in the field of their desire, but their hearts is set upon owning their own business before turning 27. Which is the age I started my own business. In the end our kids are reflection of us and what we install in their minds and lives while real young. This may not work with everyone but it did in my case. :)

  • jodyvanB

    jodyvanB said 8 years ago

    Two years ago my son wanted to be a dump truck. Now he wants to drive a recycling truck. We're moving up! Great article, lots of food for thought! Cheers!

  • heathershore

    heathershore said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the wonderful post, Caleb! Our daughter is not yet three months old and my husband and I have shared some thoughts on this matter of supporting and encouraging her sense of curiosity... how this could be a catalyst to her eventually feeling self-sufficient and capable. My own parents fostered creativity and exploration in my sister and I, and I'm happy to share that we both now support our families doing what we love. It's the ultimate freedom, and so, in my mind, the ultimate wealth!

  • TforEdgar

    TforEdgar said 8 years ago

    Think big yourself.

  • ChristinaRomeo

    ChristinaRomeo said 8 years ago

    The Ken Robinson link was amazing BTW!

  • popkingarb

    popkingarb said 8 years ago

    great post! for our son, we encourage him to pursue his interests (which are transformers and pokemon right now), which is the opposite of what i experienced as i was growing up. for now he says he wants to build things and be a scientist, so we tell him that in order for him to be a scientist he has to study hard and try his best in everything he does. but as parents, we aren't very pushy either. we go with his rhythm, and just guide him if he needs it

  • Checkeredcat

    Checkeredcat said 8 years ago

    When they ask if they can be something, if you believe in them. Say YES. And, don't tell them how many years of school it will take to get there! Don't list the hurdles they will face. Don't say "you can do it if" just say "you can do it".

  • jennyleefowler

    jennyleefowler said 8 years ago

    There are many different flavors of creative. Even before I had kids, the idea of "serious play" really resonated with me. I think that there are many ways of supporting kids in being their authentic selves-- providing experiences which connect with their questions and yearnings as well as heaps of raw material and free time. We can give them opportunities to contribute and every day, in big and small ways, we model our engagement with the world.

  • threeredtrees

    threeredtrees said 8 years ago

    My children see me creating all the time, and I love sitting down with them to do "activities" as my 4 year old calls it. We paint, sculpt play-do, cut out paper snowflakes (yes, even in June) and rip open giant craft bins and let our imaginations run wild. Right now, I am not pushing my kids in any direction. I am sitting back and watching them take their own shape. It's time to enjoy!

  • oppositeoffar

    oppositeoffar said 8 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this...I love the business cards for kids idea. I believe if you support your kids *big* dreams they will develop all the other "real life" stuff by watching their role models...and it sounds like you and your wife are wonderful models for your son! Just giving him the freedom, space, confidence and opportunity to dream is the biggest, most important start!

  • FifthRealmPress

    FifthRealmPress said 8 years ago

    It is always great to get kids thinking outside of the box and let their imaginations fly. If you tell someone especially a child they can do anything they set their minds to then their world opens up. Great article and a very cute video! Let their dreams take flight!

  • jmbarclay

    jmbarclay said 8 years ago

    Great Post!

  • GrowingUpWild

    GrowingUpWild said 8 years ago

    Great article! I think that unstructured time in nature is also so important for the expansion of little ones' minds and creativity. I firmly believe in the no child left indoors mentality. Thank you for sharing this post!

  • Verdurebydesign

    Verdurebydesign said 8 years ago

    As a parent I think this is a fantastic post. It looks like we will be making buisness cards over the next week. Thanks for the Idea.

  • TheScarletSageTree

    TheScarletSageTree said 8 years ago

    A fabulous post Caleb! You're so right about needing to make sure we don't dent out kids' imaginations with our own realistic and often so limiting conditioning. I'm constantly fascinated by where my 3 year old's mind can head off - the things he says, the stories he makes up looking at his picture books - it just leaves me spellbound. Right now, even I'm not very sure how to encourage it as he grows older and more in tune with overrated reality - but as of now, I do my best not to discourage or hamper his thinking. When he wants to call the Kung Fu Panda Tigress by a new name - Scarius - I say Wow, I like that name. When he builds an "explorer controller" out of odds and ends from his toys, I say - Fantastic, what does it do? And when he picks up a stone as we walk down our lane saying it's a magic stone, I let him dream. And I think that's the key, - that we don't intrude into their brilliance by saying oh, that's not possible, but we let them DREAM. Thanks for sharing this, I'm posting it on my FB business page :) Suzanne

  • WeeDees

    WeeDees said 8 years ago

    It's a delicate balance, but I hope that as long as my sons dreams are dreamt they are fostered.

  • MishaGirl

    MishaGirl said 8 years ago

    Supporting a child's dream is as important as the dream itself. I love my parents for that :-)!

  • blessedvintage

    blessedvintage said 8 years ago

    Good thougtful piece. My daughter is 23 and she was raised by a mom who was a sales manager and always creating something. Whether it was taking out gross carpeting, and since I could not afford new I painted my floors before it was cool. Even added glow in the dark pieces. She knows if there is a will there will be somehow to do it, to make yourself happy!

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 8 years ago

    So cute!

  • NiChaPoN

    NiChaPoN said 8 years ago

    Lovely story!!

  • JesseMosher

    JesseMosher said 8 years ago

    great post

  • jolinne

    jolinne said 8 years ago

    Great post! My parents have always encouraged my skills in the exact amount that I wanted them to be encouraged. And because of that I am now living my dream!

  • LizsWares

    LizsWares said 8 years ago

    My dad has always encouraged my creativity. Even still today. He was the only one who didn't squash my idea of opening up on Etsy- and didn't push for me to make an outcome happen fast. Everyone else only cared about the results or dismissed the idea. One major thing my dad taught me was to seek knowledge.This has become my best tool in life. But his main lesson to me was to "Look out for number one". He meant this on all levels- safety, happiness, everything. But also to never forget those who are truly close to you. Happiness for me has always been creative in some form. When I was younger I loved cutting things out of newspapers and still have some of the clippings today. I liked creating collages. I loved art class and wished this was a yearly prerequisite. It would be awesome if different forms of art were taught each year. I don't have any children yet. But I plan to encourage their creativity and imagination. I intend to do so with reading (like The Never Ending Story), movies (like Harry Potter and Mary Poppins), showing them different forms of creativeness- sewing, jewelry, embed bugs in resin. Anything I can to show them how cool the world can be and how they can make the world they way they want it to be. A quote that comes to mind is from the tv series Angel: "We live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be." The best thing you can do is to introduce them to many different things and see what they like best then encourage them.

  • Tina7383

    Tina7383 said 8 years ago

    Great Post = ) YOU GO DAD....(did ya'll notice that it was the Dads post). Caleb... Kudos to you for talking the time to contemplate and solicite insight on your lifetime project. I for one would say you are on the right track for acknowledging the thought and seeking more knowledge (possibly more than you expected or will ever know what to do with lol). The cards were cute but I would go for a Poster which they see and aspire to and could be a dad and me project. The whole "business card" is a bit over the top for three and four yr olds to me. I agree with Krystyna81; mastering the Art of Conversation and I will add handwritten THANK YOU NOTES (ie Graciousness). And if Stepbackink is correct (and I believe she is) in saying In the end our kids are reflection of us and what we install in their minds and lives then your kid will be great. You are instilling pure value in the life of your child just by asking the question (to yourself and us ) and staying around long enough to listen (to us and more importantly LISTEN to your children). Listening to something beside the news, the ipod, the tweet ect will serve you well. My advice is to listen to older experianced people, little children and your pets and you will learn from honest, pure and loyal sources. SINCERELY TINA7383

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 8 years ago

    With insights like yours, I'd hardly consider you an amateur ;)

  • petrafanella

    petrafanella said 8 years ago

    Thanks for this - it really scares me when i think about how from the moment they are born children are told what they can't do and as we grow our world becomes smaller and less fantastical. I have a 4 year old (and one on the way) and he just adores when we do art and craft. We often try and encourage his imagination and independence but he often wants input/ guidance from us. I just feel like its such a tough balance and how do we get it right? How do we grow them without shrinking their worlds?

  • zoharmorag

    zoharmorag said 8 years ago

    Sweeties ! I think that as with most other things in parenting that personal example has such a great influence. It's okay to let your kids see that you look forward to going out to that evening class or enjoy messing with glue and sparkles or dancing to Duran Duran. If you're job is fulfilling and you enjoy it and your children see that - then that is what they will want for themselves.

  • iragrant

    iragrant said 8 years ago

    Every time my little one said she want to be an artist, well she is a little Picasso:))) hubby give this 'you-must-put-this-idea-to-her-head' look to me!!! The fact is I didn't but I will let her to be whatever she want it to be. I won't be worry, she is a very clever little girl and already speaks three languages fluently ( oh she will be 6 years old tomorrow) love her piano, swimming and ballet as much as her artwork and school! Of course she excellent with numbers too. So why should I limit her imagination?

  • mAntiqueTony

    mAntiqueTony said 8 years ago

    whenever our son is onto a new discovery (astronauts, cowboys, space, fish, chemistry) we expose him to it as quickly as possible -- to grab hold of that new wonder and sense of excitement in his eyes. my wife has an especially keen ear and ability to hook him up with real-world experiences. check out non-profits (museums, animal rescues, zoo, etc.) for unexpected kids/family programs, you'll be surprised as to what's out there.

  • poppysmiles

    poppysmiles said 8 years ago

    we unschool our kids... have them at home and part of most things we do! Both girls have made films and had a ball doing all sorts of things that interest them. I think teaching our kids to follow their hearts and interests is the greatest gift. a film written by my 5yr old: and my older daughter's blog... she runs a little mini magazine for kids interested in Blythe dolls from this blog. IT is fun fun fun to explore and learn with our kids. LOVE this life of natural learning!

  • IdahoHempWorks

    IdahoHempWorks said 8 years ago

    As a new mother this question weighs on my mind everyday! It is actually a BIG part of the reason I have my business today. It is small right now but it is also the perfect workshop for me and an ideal platform to set an example while being a full time Mom. I just can't wait to find out what inspires and engages my son. I can only hope to recognize the things he loves and encourage him to not be afraid of his ideas...

  • rosepearl

    rosepearl said 8 years ago

    a lovely post, thank you so much. i will consider the business card idea with my own kids, since i just got some for myself ... p.s. don't worry, a child's imagination is in fact a robust faculty. and where it is certainly possible to box kids in and prune down their imaginations, helping them grow and nurture their imaginations is easy - they're born knowing how, so just follow their lead!

  • Lasilas

    Lasilas said 8 years ago

    You hit the nail on the head. These are exactly the same thoughts I've been having since even before my son was born 17 months ago. We'll definitely be doing the business cards. One other thing we're doing is painting the walls of his room with dry erase paint. Every one I know keeps pointing out that it will teach him to write on the walls and he'll write all over the house. My response is, so? Is writing on the walls a problem? Children should not be poured into little molds. They should be given the freedom to explore their world, safely of course.

  • kendra1125

    kendra1125 said 8 years ago

    Nicely put, Lasilas. Love this post. I agree, children should have more freedom to explore and be creative as a child. We are doing the same thing with our three little ones.. letting them have a wall to paint/color/draw. What child doesn't try to color the walls?? Yes, children need structure, but they also need to be able to think outside the box. This is what is so great about children.. the world is full of simple wonders. Children who are put in front of a TV or computer most of the day aren't able to grow spiritual, or creatively. They will lack the imagination necessary to create a better tomorrow. Also, the business cards are a great idea! We will be doing this as well. :)

  • Germanpicker

    Germanpicker said 8 years ago

    Such a great post! Great idea with the business cards! What I have learned is: Practise what you preach and everything will come out just fine. If you encourage your kid to think big and develop dreams etc. and on the other hand you are swearing each morning because you have to go to work and you are just complaining about your awful job etc. this will not work. If you show your kids that you live your dream they will do the same later in life. And if you do not life your dream yet it is high time to start if you want your children to live theirs later.

  • DeuxPetitesSouris

    DeuxPetitesSouris said 8 years ago

    i agree with so many of these comments! One thing I would add is not to overschedule your kids with too many structured activities and sports. Children need to have free time to figure out how they want to spend their day. Even if they complain that they are bored. eventually they will gravitate towards doing the things they enjoy. Parents need to pay close attention to what those things are and then offer up more opportunities to explore those things. If your child likes to build with lego, let him graduate to helping you assemble the next piece of furniture you buy, for example.

  • gemagenta

    gemagenta said 8 years ago

    this is so sweet and inspiring!

  • humandrattle

    humandrattle said 8 years ago

    I find it so crazy that my little tribe will be all growd up one day.... My 6 yr old girl wants to be "A Famous Cowgirl, a Mum, and a lady that makes stuff like you Mum" My 4 yr old boy wants to be a drummer in a band spiderman... My 3 yr old boy wants whatever the 4 yr old is having, except he wants to play guitar... I just really hope and pray we don't get in the way too much and help them laugh and learn all the things they need along the way to become, cowgirls and drummers and spidermen...

  • Alefwanoun

    Alefwanoun said 8 years ago

    thanx for sharing - i've a similer problem with my daugter she's 9.6years hope i can get inspriation from ur cute post thanx

  • MouseInTheDollhouse

    MouseInTheDollhouse said 8 years ago

    Everything you say Caleb is very well put. I have two small children and my dream for them is to be able to dream. Grow them to be free, to dream, to learn, to love, to have no obstacles. Grow them to be able to think and to make choices based on personal utopias, why not? Imagine a planet governed, not by an endless hunt for money, but by the dream of pure happiness driven by learning and creating....

  • CMBDisplayDesigns

    CMBDisplayDesigns said 8 years ago

    My goal is to foster my kids' imagination and creativity, but to also teach them finance fundamentals, appropriate to their age as they grow. When they're allowed to follow their imaginations and creative endeavors, they grow. I don't think anything is a better teaching tool than letting them follow their natural curiosity. But to keep them grounded, we teach them money management. My hope is that their imagination and financial sense fuses when they're adults to make them grounded and creative. The key to me is balance. They're both the greatest gifts we can give our kids, I think.

  • ToffeeappleKidsWear

    ToffeeappleKidsWear said 8 years ago

    Last week my 5 year old daughter asked what she needed to do at university to become a tooth fairy. I think I will now make her a business card that reflects this dream - what an awesome idea! (btw I told her that the fairies will come and select her and take her to their secret university to study). Perhaps the best way we can let our children pursue any dream is by demonstrating to them how we are chasing our dreams as well. Lead by example.

  • kathyjohnson3

    kathyjohnson3 said 8 years ago

    Creativity sparks imagination in our children and gives them tools to use throughout thier entire lives. My grandmother was the one who taught me to sew and foster that creativity, and now i am making a living from that. Even though she is no longer with us, I will always remember her for taking the time to teach me. Wonderful article, thanks for sharing!

  • SweetandDandyVintage

    SweetandDandyVintage said 8 years ago

    First off, I'm a mom of a dear sweet 2 yr old boy. I think the most important thing to remember is to show love always, relax and stop worrying about how well we're doing as parents and just know that we are exactly where we should be as individual beings creating our existence here on this beautiful planet. Every child is their own spiritual entity, and provided a loving, encouraging and nurturing environment, will flourish and be exactly who they desire to be (not what WE want them to be). Too much pressure on ourselves is a detriment to showing our kids that life is fun and everything we desire is already lined up for us if we only just "be" and allow it in. Teaching our children to know their true self and look less at others for guidance is how I approach parenting. Believe and desire for our children that they will flourish in this positive. Thanks for the lovely post! Love and Light, ~Jess

  • mainili

    mainili said 8 years ago

    Thats Great ! I love this idea !

  • kibeagle

    kibeagle said 8 years ago

    This you will love this "Escape Adulthood" with Kim and Jason Koteki. I really think parents have to reflect this imagination and "kid-like" thinking in order to keep it going in their children. Here is their blog:

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 8 years ago

    My children are intelligent, independent and wildly successful in creative jobs that they are excited to do everyday. I have no idea how that happened.

  • YarnUiPhoneApp

    YarnUiPhoneApp said 8 years ago

    I like these ideas...but I think it's important for children to be able to wonder...go somewhere alone. I know that's politically incorrect and probably illegal some places. But I grew up and I went nearly everywhere on my own. It fostered great independence. Now, children are glued at the hips to the parents. There's no breathing room whatsoever.

  • piecesofelises

    piecesofelises said 8 years ago

    Cute video! I'm thinking, "Can the Red Balloon make business cards for me? I'm kinda still a kid and I'm learning a language..." Hehehe. About the topic for discussion, even though I am not a parent and I am just beginning adulthood, I think a lot about the good things my mom did while raising my brother and me. From the beginning it was important to her to teach us good values. Every night, from the time we were teeny weeny things, she read to us out of a beautifully illustrated, bright yellow book called "My Book of Bible Stories". She encouraged us to try our hand at drawing what we saw in the books we read or to imagine what the unillustrated parts of the story would look like. We made puppets, we made up songs, we sculpted with modeling clay, and we had the occasional mud bath, our imaginations were always active. After we got to be school age she didn't have to initiate the creativity as much any more, even though she still came up with things for us to do. By that time, though, at least speaking for myself, I loved to create things using my imagination. I think even today because of the fond memories I have of my childhood, the way my mom nurtured my imagination while at the same time helping me to be rooted with spiritual guidance, my love for God and creating continue to grow. I am by no means the perfect daughter but I can attribute a lot of the good aspects of my character to the way I was raised. Like Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a boy according to way for him; even when he grows old he will not turn aside from it." I don't think parents can go wrong if they teach their children to love and imitate the most spectacular artist with the greatest imagination, their Creator, God.

  • SpiceofLifeDesigns

    SpiceofLifeDesigns said 8 years ago

    Teach them to live simply, with modest financial needs so that they can be free to pursue their dreams without the burden of debt. Carefully consider if a public education in your area will continue to instill those values and life lessons you desire your child to experience. My public education included a fabulous art component. Were my children to attend the same school now, art and music have been eliminated due to budget constraints. Model that success is not necessarily measured by the money in the bank, the biggest house or shiniest car - it is in doing daily those things in which you find personal fulfillment. And that it's ok if what that is for each of us is different! I wish you the best on your journey as a family. And remember that how you arrive is usually just as important as where you end up.

  • bettylooproject

    bettylooproject said 8 years ago

    All children are born artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. ~Pablo Picasso

  • kadydesigns

    kadydesigns said 8 years ago

    I love this article! Our daughter just graduated from a fine arts high school with ballet being her art. She applied for several colleges and was accepted to all of them, but she wants to dance. We could have insisted that she go straight to college but we wouldn't have been letting her follow her dream of having a professional career in dance. There will be time for her to do her studies and we know it's not the NORMAL way things are done but for her it's the right way. Kids need to follow their dreams, it's what makes them happy and isn't that what we want for our kids?

  • withachanceof

    withachanceof said 8 years ago

    I love this articale. I think it's so important to let kids imaginations bloom and grown. They're kids! When they get older they will learn about whats "important" but what is important for them when they are young is know that they can use their minds to create new worlds and have fun. I really believe it will help them live happier lives in the future. Really, kids what to know they we as parents are proud of them. If my daughter wants to pretend she is a airplane pilot one day and a fairy princess the next, i say go for it girl! I mean, she's three! Thank you so much for this articale! It meant the world to me!

  • HouseHoldWords

    HouseHoldWords said 8 years ago

    Our whole household thrives on creating and exploring. Both of my children are creators, thinkers and expressive themselves through arts. My husband is a a thinker, tinkerer, builder and dreamer, and I love to draw, create and paint.

  • chaps676 Admin

    chaps676 said 8 years ago

    I was very fortunate in that my mother sought out the greatest toys — colorful wooden blocks, handmade marble runs, bright wood tiles, tangram puzzles. And nothing can replace the sacred lapdesk, the go-to entertainment station for car trips. The simplest of toys shouldn't be underestimated!

  • AurDenDesigns

    AurDenDesigns said 8 years ago

    It is all about balance. Living life to the fullest and taking time to appreciate the little things that give us the greatest joys. Wonderful post.

  • dsvintageemporium

    dsvintageemporium said 8 years ago

    I've raised one kid, and while he's still finding his way (he has Autism), I understand how difficult this can be. Especially here in America, where creative types aren't supported much at all. Here's my advice (take it or leave it): remember first that kids' interests and goals change a lot. When they are little, don't put any limits on that. Exploring the world of their own imagination and potential is a vital step to discovering who they really are! As they get a bit older, some talents and interests will emerge. For example, if the "dinosaur hunter" continues to love dinosaurs as he enters middle school, maybe he should become an archeologist. And never underestimate becoming an entrepreneur! Creative minds often have to make their own way outside of a normal education and job - give them the encouragement and advice on how to start your own business, finding start-up money, budgeting, etc. I think this kind of education should be taught in every high school! Good luck!

  • lazydayz

    lazydayz said 8 years ago

    Amazing interview! I am a grandma now, so a little late for me :) but I will be passing this article on to my daughter who has two little ones and is a GREAT mom, but the business card idea is so on the money, and so easy to accomplish and can easily be expanded to other tangible ideas !!!!!!!!

  • swanmountainsoaps

    swanmountainsoaps said 8 years ago

    I think there's a little bit of Dinosaur Hunter in every grown up guy I know. Sometimes all it akes to bring him back out is a rainy Sunday afternoon and two little boys with wooden rifles and a couple of half-dog-chewed plastic brontosaurs. Nothing like parenthood to resurrect that sparkle. Take it from an opera-singing, heliopter-flying fairy princess archeologist with 5 kids.

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 8 years ago

    adorable business cards!

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 8 years ago

    ps. i love your comment "sweetanddandyvintage". i think there may be too much emphasis on careers and goals for children. hobbies, craft, and a love of life is so important. money should come if all of those things are in place.

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 8 years ago

    ps. i love your comment "sweetanddandyvintage". i think there may be too much emphasis on careers and goals for children. hobbies, craft, and a love of life is so important. money should come if all of those things are in place.

  • TheZestyDesk

    TheZestyDesk said 8 years ago

    An article all parents should read and a practice all parents should embrace. Let your kids dream big and follow their paths, don't inhibit their creative souls. Of course you still have to make sure they know to brush their teeth, wash their hands, eat healthy and treat others with respect.

  • GoldenPondStudio

    GoldenPondStudio said 8 years ago

    what a wonderful post!

  • dolcedreams

    dolcedreams said 8 years ago

    What a great post! My sons are 10 and 7, and this is a subject that is on my mind constantly ~ I loved reading all of the comments. It will be interesting to see what the future holds and where this generation will go, and what they will say about their upbringing.

  • PearlAmourJewels

    PearlAmourJewels said 8 years ago

    How intriguing to read someone thinking exactly how I feel with my 9 and 7 year old boys. Coming from a family that encourages boys to become professionals and my youngest sons interest in my jewelery designs did get me thinking about their future. As a former IT consultant, I understand the difference between having a career that you don't like and doing something that you do like. This is the reason why I prefer my sons choose a career that they would enjoy but at the same time help them live a comfortable financial life. My boys dream that they will play for the NHL one day and I let them run with their imagination today without bursting their bubble because I know tomorrow will hold a lot of responsibilities and tough decisions.

  • EvesLittleEarthlings

    EvesLittleEarthlings said 8 years ago

    The business cards are beautiful and fun. As far as a child's future career goes, if what YOU are doing is enjoyable and you are leading a responsible life while doing it, your kids will learn by your example.

  • BooPatch

    BooPatch said 8 years ago

    WOW...what amazing thoughtful poignant's touching to my soul to see so many people agreeing on the fact that children should be allowed to be just that. Children. my kids have been told from day one...They can be whatever they want to be when they grow up. As long as its honest. I sincerely mean that. And their favorite toy is a box. Just that. A box. It fuels their imagination to be so many wonderful different things on any given day... Besides, I don't know what I want to be when I grow up!!! heehee

  • WeChooseJoy

    WeChooseJoy said 8 years ago

    This article/video was definitely my inspiration for the day :)

  • SilverLoft

    SilverLoft said 8 years ago

    I always made sure that my children (my youngest is now 16) have had a readily available cache of art supplies. Coming from two creative parents, they were always encouraged to make what they wanted. Today my boys have the confidence to do whatever needs to be done, whether it is making a bow from a branch, building a complex target for slingshot practice, or repairing the side view mirror on a moped - to fixing the trim on the house. They have been taught that while creativity may not always pay the bills, it eases the heart - which is a far more important thing. They know that money is what you live ON, and not FOR.

  • thesittingtree

    thesittingtree said 8 years ago

    We live by this philosophy every day in our family! Do what you love and you'll always love what you do. And if you change your mind ~great~ that's ok too!!

  • MarshaNealStudio

    MarshaNealStudio said 8 years ago

    Love this way of teaching ourselves on how to let our children learn and explore for themselves while being confident, caring, supportive individuals. I am teaching myself to not put limits onto creative endeavors when my kids are exploring in art - in ways that they aren't going to hurt themselves (1 & 3 years old). I love to see what colors my daughter comes up with when she mixes paint colors, draws both hands, and just gets into the "zone". It's an amazing feeling to let go with them and see what happens for both of us!

  • thisthatotherthings

    thisthatotherthings said 8 years ago

    Really Awesome post.

  • LindaFriedrich

    LindaFriedrich said 8 years ago

    amazing !! Great idea

  • SunshineFelt

    SunshineFelt said 8 years ago

    Wonderful Post

  • leonandcoco

    leonandcoco said 8 years ago

    Hello Caleb, Thanks for this post. Having a son and a daughter, I realise that most people divide the whole world into "For girls" and "For boys". What should I tell Coco when she runs around in a football kit convinced that she will play with the LFC one day and Leon who dreams of having six children while still living with us? The last thing I am going to do is telling them that they can't. As I learned from my parents that there is always a way, I believe that they can be whatever they want. Dinosaur hunters only translate into archaeologists in grown up language... The focus for us is not letting them do whatever they want whenever they want it, but to take them seriously. They are part of the family, so they are involved in decisions and their voice counts. And every product I make that does not pass their "test" is just not good enough!

  • winddancerstudios

    winddancerstudios said 8 years ago

    My middle child has just received her acceptance letter for the college she applied to. She will be a fine arts major, no surprise there lol When I decided not to become a Doctor and thought I would pursue art instead my Dad refused, said he would have no part in making sure I starved the rest of my life. I was also afraid of turning what I loved into work. Sooo I became a bus mgt major. Not terribly exciting though it has served my family well :) What I learned later is if you're doing what you love, it isn't work. I've watched my children grow and watched their interests blossom - encouraging their dreams. Now that we're there, we take a step back and say. How are you going to feed yourself while you're becoming known? In what other ways can you use your talents to generate an income? You know what my daughter realized? She has MANY avenues to explore that will feed her while she creates her dream! and a business course or two to make sure she's got that other stuff covered too :) because Mom doesn't want to be a part of her daughter starving either.

  • BrickHouseStudio

    BrickHouseStudio said 8 years ago

    I wish the imagination from my childhood could come out into my illustrations more. Time to start thinking like a kid again... Great article.

  • SassyBagsAndRags

    SassyBagsAndRags said 8 years ago

    We are the parents of 8 grown children. It was our philosophy that our kids could do anything they set their hearts on - and they have. Some have traveled to South America on humanitarian service. One son is developing a flying car while finishing his master's degree in physics - (we will all be flying his car one day). Two others bought themselves a movie camera when they were 12 and 13 and now they have traveled to China, South America, Central America and all around the US filming for different companies. All of our children have high goals. The thing we did was to encourage them in their dreams and tell them they could do it. We are their biggest fans. We have always attended every event they participated in - even as adults. If you can dream it, you can accomplish it. We never made their dreams seem trivial or stupid. They aren't doctors or lawyers - but they are accomplished and happy. What more do we want?

  • Iggyjingles

    Iggyjingles said 8 years ago

    I don't have to teach my daughter how to dream big. She's had her own Etsy for a couple years - She wants to be a doll and game designer. Her dreams include owning a theme park based on her several lines of fashion doll characters for which she has already started the ground plan. She is planning a series of websites with online role playing games similar to Webkinz (but based on her lines of dolls) and a historical doll museum including a room where children can play with dolls they might not own. She is also planning on writing novels (already started) and making films (already started). Part of her website plan is to include an online library where kids can upload their own stories. She once asked me if she could be a successful as Walt Disney. I told her Walt Disney was once just a guy who drew a mouse, so yes, why not. My daughter is 11. Things may change. Or not.

  • GoHeyJudy

    GoHeyJudy said 8 years ago

    I think the key is not to instill unnecessary fear. It's devestating to a child as well as an adult. Turn off the doom TV and let the immagination rip.

  • RubiesAreForever

    RubiesAreForever said 8 years ago

    I can not wait to make my daughter business cards! What an excellent idea ;)

  • papertreehousestudio

    papertreehousestudio said 8 years ago

    I teach my kids to think big by showing them I " think big" for myself. In addition to supporting their passion and interests, I support my own as well. Keeping an open dialog going is key.

  • pixiecampbell

    pixiecampbell said 8 years ago

    Absolutely! My son wants to explore space in a time traveling machine that will allow him to "go back millions and billions of years" in order to see for himself what really happened to the dinosaurs. His curiosity astounds me, as do all childrens'! Thank you for this power-boost of dreaming big...

  • frommylittleroom

    frommylittleroom said 8 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this! My eldest nephew is a very premature kid. He said he wanted to be a doctor at the age of 2! Knowing that there is already enough "adult" influence around him, I send him postcards with silly drawings or on very impossible stories to keep his imagination alive!

  • marilynscreations2

    marilynscreations2 said 8 years ago

    How fun...I really enjoyed all the comments. I am a grandmother of 32 grandchildren that all think they are my favorite. I never throw anything away. When they come to my home (which is quite often) they know that they can reach for the sky and create whatever their little minds can think of. Last Wednesday I was going to bake cookies with one grandchild, he didn't want any of the old tried and true receipes so we took down the cookbook and he practiced reading until he found a receipe that sounded good to him. A group of grandchildren build a fort on the vacant lot this week using whatever they could find. (my mom owns the lot) I'm sure next time they come they will want to decorate the fort. Also on Sunday another grandson came in bearing two puppets he had made and we laughed and put on a puppet show. I love it, keep up the post they all make me smile.

  • NydamPrints

    NydamPrints said 8 years ago

    My parents always taught me that I should do what I love... So it's a nice bonus that I married someone who's interested in jobs that happen to actually pay a good salary, because I lived on an extremely tight budget when it was just me and the job I loved! lol But one of the wonderful things about creativity is that it isn't either/or. You can be an artist AND an office manager, a poet AND a chef, a fiction writer AND a surgeon, a crafter AND a bus driver... Wherever your life brings you, can always still create, too. Since I was taught to follow my dreams I'm self-publishing my books as well as selling my art, and my two children (8) are so proud of me when all their classmates read and love my books. My son has just completed his first "novel," entitled "The Adventures of Space Squirrel Fluff," and my daughter has illustrated it. I've promised them that I will have it printed up into a real book for them. My daughter has long believed that there's nothing in this world she might want that she can't make out of paper. It's incredibly cute -- and incredibly annoying when I'm wading through drifts of little paper scraps... But I hope my kids will never lose their belief in their own creativity, self-sufficiency, and power to shape their world for the better. Thanks for the cute video.

  • NydamPrints

    NydamPrints said 8 years ago

    Oh, and if you ask my son what he wants to be when he grows up, he says "a cryptozoologist." It would be fun to make a business card for that one!

  • anniespaintings

    anniespaintings said 8 years ago

    Awesome post, some wonderful reading through everyones comments and ideas!!! Gives me something to think regards to my children. I feel its going to be quite challenging for my children of 9, 5 and grandson of 3.5months!!! I try to fulfill the playful side, probably push towards survival strength and independence...I still have a lot to learn, and these posts are great!!! Thanks everyone.

  • musicmama1

    musicmama1 said 8 years ago

    We chose to homeschool for many reasons, one of which was to be able to foster and encourage creativity. My daughter, who was once the shy child, discovered her dream in her first on-stage production. Now she is in college majoring in music theater. We still sometimes feel parental angst about her pursuing a "non-practical" career, but when we see the joy it brings her, how can we stand in the way?

  • WeeWildOnes

    WeeWildOnes said 8 years ago

    Wee love ... this post! It will soon be linked on our blog. And we completely agree with cultivating creativity and how it's difficult to thin about bridging reality and dreaming BIG!

  • getSPOONED

    getSPOONED said 8 years ago

    I have never been one of those people who knew what they wanted to be when they grew up - And I still don't . I just want my girls to know right from wrong, good from bad and have fun - oh and if they can make some money doing what they love to do then even better. Musicmama1 - I was interested to read your comment about your once shy daughter loving the stage! My youngest girl has always been very quiet in school but suprised everyone in her grade 2 play when she took the lead roll of the paperbark princess and was so loud and confident - Nobody could believe she was the same girl. When I asked her how she felt on stage she said " I feel like I am out of my body and being someone else" I guess all the shyness went away when she become another character. Since then she has played her violin on stage several times and has no stage fear. Who know what she will become as she is also really smart - I say just let them go and see where they fly (of course with a little guidance along the way)

  • ResaArtDesign

    ResaArtDesign said 8 years ago

    All such wonderful writings. Here we are nearing Father's Day, and I reflect back on the teachings of my father, who is no longer with us. His philosophy always was always, " If there's a will, there is a way." He was a great example of not just a father, but a person. He listened, and believe me, I can talk a lot. He preached consideration of others, and honesty. Hard work is best if you know what you are working towards, especially if it is what you love to do. I miss his encouragement, inspiration as a human being, but hold his teachings close to me every single day. I hope that my teaching of the same to my children will make them love their life, ups and downs included. Thank you. Resa

  • KellyGlenn

    KellyGlenn said 8 years ago

    Especially for preschoolers, offer "process art" activities instead of crafty or product oriented art. In process art activities, materials are set up so that children have choices and are allowed to make their own choices about what colors or media to use. Children need opportunities to make choices in order to weigh options and decide what they prefer or discover the results of their choices. This holds true for preschoolers in the area of dramatic play as well. Parents and child care providers need to offer plenty of opportunities for children to engage in pretend play. When children use dress up materials, they learn to take on the roles of other people and/or characters. They dream up ideas from their own point of view and life experiences as well as another person's/character's point of view and experiences. Pretend play develops social skills as well as helps children "dream big" and consider possibilities. To read more about these topics, parents can search for "process art", "dramatic play" and "pretend play". I am a trainer to child care providers and parents. Another topic to consider is open ended play. Block play is very open ended. Science tables can be set up where children get to explore, try out ideas and see what happens. All of the above are ways to develop a child's creativity and indirectly impress upon children that their ideas have merit, they can try out ideas and that curiosity itself is enjoyable.

  • KellyGlenn

    KellyGlenn said 8 years ago

    Another key issue to consider when teaching kids to think big is to allow children to be as capable as possible so they develop a sense of "I am capable". Many parents pamper children and do too much for children in the name of love. Children can do simple chores starting as young as 2 & 3 years old - scoop out food for pets, start dressing themselves, help cook, etc. (all with supervision of course). If a child feels capable and competent, then he or she will feel confident to think big, try new endeavors and take appropriate risks to think big and reach to implement ideas. All of the ideas I wrote about preschool activities (above) also help develop this sense of "I am capable".

  • needleyou

    needleyou said 8 years ago

    This is quite a special post because so many of us on Etsy can relate to this one way or another. I enjoy this article & I especially enjoy the comments. For my husband & I - it's a balancing act to keep their budding tween heads still in the creative clouds a bit & yet coax them to think beyond school & know that someday they'll have to keep up w/ their peers in the future. My girl wanted to be a rockstar/minivan-driving/mommy/vetrinarian & now she wants to be a cupcake maker for the Summer. My boy has just about always been 100% Lego minded & wants to be a toy engineer now. : )

  • thisfineday

    thisfineday said 8 years ago

    I highly recommend reading "rich dad, poor dad" for one. And for another, always encourage what he's interested in. If he plays drums with upside down bowls and kitchen spoons to to find a way to get him a small drum set or just take him to guitar center and have him play one there..see if it goes anywhere. Try to always have things accessible that he is interested in.

  • PaulaPaintsPets

    PaulaPaintsPets said 8 years ago

    I love this post. My husband and I may not have a ton of money, but we are both people who never let the artist in them die. And we pride ourselves on modeling that for our daughter, who is now six. We believe in finding and nurturing our true selves, and continuing throughout life to truly know ourselves. Our daughter is very creative and intelligent and happy. She has created an entire universe and named it...there are characters and lands...and she lives in it a great deal of the time. We wholeheartedly support her in this. She has the notion that anything can be created and anything can come true (and these things are in fact true). We helped her make a costume so that she could be her character, and even took her to a costume shop to get some elements that were too difficult to make. The salespeople seemed stunned that this wasn't a project for school, or for a play, or for some dress-up party. It was just because.

  • reneesumner

    reneesumner said 8 years ago

    I enjoyed this article and read every single post! I just told my daughter today that we are going to set up an etsy shop for her artwork, so I will add some business cards to the list! My 5 year old already helps me design jewelry. We have 4 kids. My grandma had all sorts of fabric and art supplies that I loved to experiment with. My other grandma always had art supplies for me and saved margarine tubs and lids soI could build UFO's. She also saved little fabric samples she got in the mail that I used to make dollhouse items with (cardboard box fun!) My Dad brought home scrap paper from work for me to draw on. My mom loved to craft also, so I've always wanted to be an artist! I love reading all the comments here.

  • lepetitvulcan

    lepetitvulcan said 8 years ago

    i love this post! As a pre-school teacher i am lucky enough to hear about big dreams and super powers everyday. I love every minute of it! this post reminds me of how great children are! :)

  • Fibrillaria

    Fibrillaria said 8 years ago

    Read to your children, but more importantly make up your own stories and encourage them to join along, become a creative, joyous family together!

  • eclectikid

    eclectikid said 8 years ago

    Frequently, as parents, we are the ones who try to lead them down a path. The true magic happens when we start to follow them. When we begin to see the world through their eyes, things that we never knew were there or ways of looking at things that are beautifully logical. We have always worked to encourage our son to follow his passions (he is 7). To me, one of the most important ways that we can give this to our children is to change how we educate them. If we want them to never lose the "out of the box" thinking, we can't continue to educate them in the "box". Parents who value this are starting to create and participate in schools all over that teach differently and truly embrace the beauty and wonderment of each child. Along with 3 other parents, I chose to do this for my child and others. We started The Living School in Portland, OR. It's imperative that we instill a genuine love of learning in our children. Raising a child in a positive, nurturing environment that values them as well as challenges them will give them a lifetime of tools to be creative, successful individuals.

  • applesong

    applesong said 8 years ago

    A lovely post. For me, it comes down to providing unconditional acceptance, with the hope that my daughters will feel loved and secure enough to give their dreams some value without any doubt. Recently my girls made a big old bucket of perfume (mud, leaves, flowers and water) and bottled it. My eldest said "we need business cards like mummy". she cut out a rectangle, and wrote the words "WE MAKE SMELLS" :-)

  • Fluturi

    Fluturi said 8 years ago

    What a great thread, and so fitting for me too. I have just enrolled my kids into a school which encourages kids to explore their dreams and imaginations. It teaches in the Reggio Emilio method. If you want your kids to grow up using their imaginations and putting their dreams into reality in a nurturing way I suggest you really check out any schools near you which embrace this Italian method of teaching. My kids 6 and 10 have never been so happy and excited to go to school. They learn through hands on experiences and not just worksheets, I wish all kids had the opportunity to learn like this it really should be the norm. The school my kids go to is in Perth, Western Australia.

  • marytaelliott

    marytaelliott said 8 years ago

    I think that is a great idea, even if you don't have kids you may have neighbours or nephews or nieces that you could do something like that for them! really cute and inspiring, thanks for sharing this video. I will do something like that just in my family and friends! (kids of course..jejee)

  • DuncanCreekCrafts

    DuncanCreekCrafts said 8 years ago

    Thanks for your great post! As a nurse in a pediatrician's office, I have seen too many kids numbed by medication given for a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD. Granted at times it was needed but ,in my opinion, not in alot of the cases. These kids were just energetic(as kids are naturally) and very intelligent. Keep up the good work of looking for the best path to raise your son-sounds like you're doing a great job!

  • gimpressions

    gimpressions said 8 years ago

    Teachers are also very important in this process. Fortunately I had a 5th grade teacher that told her class everyday we could be anything we wanted if we wanted it enough and then follow up with an activity to expand our horizons. High school counselors told me I was not smart enough for college but I remembered that 5th grade teacher and now have a Ph.D. Lift children up! So many children have truly negative lives especially now with the elimination of arts in schools and supreme pressure to pass subject matter tests at low levels of thinking. Encourage creative thinking!

  • BetsyBows

    BetsyBows said 8 years ago

    Teaching responsibility to a little one needs to start at a early age... whether it's pick up toys and putting things away to the daily rituals of life that go on in your home( i.e, prayers, manners, etcs) Grounding them in fundamentals is so important.. .. I raised my children in the country on a small farm, where we milked our own cows,raised our own food and built our own home... was it easy?? Heck no, but now I have grown sons who know how to work, and give back.. the creative side has slipped to the wayside... tho my daughter plays the piano for church... But as you can tell... I come from the "old school" but trying to add a different direction to the conversation.. fun is great.. but living the life before can be even more fun and challenging.. thanks, Bets BetsyBows

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies said 8 years ago

    It is funny when I was younger my parents forced the importance of education and having a really good job. But, now I think the way the world and economy is now they are much more relaxed. I don't see them strong arming my nieces and nephews. But, I love the foundation they set. It makes you dual. You can run out and get a regular cubicle rat job along with doing something your love...

  • clareyfairy1

    clareyfairy1 said 8 years ago

    Oh I so wish I had some sort of input when I was that age! I am just starting to rediscover my creative confidence after 15 years of dormancy, creativity was very much frowned upon in my secondary school in favour of academic excellence (a mindset my parents very much agreed with). I am now in a job I hate earning mediochre money, trying find my way back to my true love. In fact I feel like my 8 year old self again, discovering creativity, I feel ridiculously optimistic, creative and happy again, we should never lose that feeling, life is too short! Maybe we should have these classes for us grown ups!

  • HaydenParkerHome

    HaydenParkerHome said 8 years ago

    Loved your post...and the video is too cute! My hope as a parent is to continue to support what my girls love to do...I'm convinced they'll land in the right spot professionally if they follow their passions... Cheers from a fellow Chicago (new Etsy) friend :) Stephanie

  • daydreamgardens

    daydreamgardens said 8 years ago

    My daughter Gen is now 17, and she is the president of her honor society, and she is one of the top students in her small town high school, and she is into reading, writing, and also making jewelery now,as well as photography. i raised her on a small 900 non profit timber estate for 14 of her first years, with no television, limited movies selected for content, and minimal video games, usually they were educational. We did lots of reading together,played board games, did art, gardening, examining nature from the woods, creek, and her Father had her help him at his surveying business. She also did a farmer's market with me and helped me prepare the products for sale by packaging and also did money changing for sales. She volunteered at that farmer's market for the elderly. She continues to do the elderly in her town, as well as other volunteer work. She is a leader among her other students and her parents also admire her also. My interests in ecology and biology, has her into bird watching as well as insects. She is multi interested in just about everything. Genny was told when young, if you get good grades in school, you can do anything. So that kicked in at Junior High School, and she has been on a roll since then. I think if you support your child's interests, no matter whether they change or not, it helps them try out different things. Doing college, like I did while she grew up and finished, also inspired her about school, as well as watching me sew her things, and other crafts. Good luck with your child, they grow up too fast! :) Pamela

  • ckipps

    ckipps said 8 years ago

    Great post! Thank you. Our eldest son is 13, and we work to strike that imagination/motivation balance each and every day, especially with a son who has some organization and distraction issues. We support his interests (film, video game design), while also explaining that putting in his best effort at school and at home also provides lifelong satisfaction. We don't over-schedule our children and have found that it is during that "hang-out" time that their imaginations still kick in.

  • LavenderField

    LavenderField said 8 years ago

    Great article, it made me think of all the things I could've encouraged my kids into but didn't because I was working full time at a job I did not enjoy...... sigh....

  • Lilsugarskulls

    Lilsugarskulls said 8 years ago

    I have a 10yr old boy and a year old girl. My son has always been so creative in so many way! very intelligent sometimes times I wonder..huh...He is really advance for his age. He know's so much about world war I & II He love's history. He talks about how he wants to travel and be a scientist. I support everything and encourage to follow his dream and never be disencourage him. He love creating things and I know something like this we can do together and he would enjoy! also teach his buddy's;) Great Post!

  • SucreSucre

    SucreSucre said 8 years ago

    GREAT article! Although I'm not a parent - I was a camp counselor for many years. I found that the best strategy for allowing children their freedoms, but still teaching them "real world" stuff was to let them set their own rules. Sounds dangerous, I know. But I would have them discuss it out loud, and after a few leading questions from me, they would have a pretty solid list of rules for themselves. It was a good way to say, "Hey, you made these rules for us to follow them - why would you break your own rules." Teaches responsibility, but keeps those creative juices flowing. :)

  • thepinkpennyshop

    thepinkpennyshop said 8 years ago

    This is such a wonderful article. I really enjoyed reading it. I hope to encourage this type of creativity among my niece & nephew. Thanks for sharing!

  • hapachicana

    hapachicana said 8 years ago

    Love it! My son is starting to dabble with his creative side. He is completely passionate about his love for sharks, even though he is terrified of the water. Rather than trying to deter him from it, we've bought him sharks toys and he has even started to draw them on his own (and he's quite good for a 4-year old). I think as long as you encourage it and remind them that they will have to work hard if they truely want to pursue their childhood dreams (whether they decide to do something creative or more scientific). Our children have a world of possibilities ahead of them, and we just have to encourage and teach them as much as we can. :-)

  • dwannalou

    dwannalou said 8 years ago

    I love this post. My kids both had business cards when they were little. My son was a future herpetologist and frog hunter and my daughter a bottle cap jewelry designer. Both have since move on from these childhood "businesses" but they learned a lot having them!

  • tobethebird

    tobethebird said 8 years ago

    i think that being the kind of parent that's aware of and intentional about engaging their children's imagination is a HUGE step in the right direction. i'm excited to see this next generation we're raising grow up because of all the creative, inspirational, sincere, heart felt parents i know are out there.

  • calebgardner

    calebgardner said 8 years ago

    Your comments have been SO fun to read. Thanks, everyone!

  • Zalavintage

    Zalavintage said 8 years ago

    Navigating the college process this year was an education to me, so much pressure on kids today, it's great to have a dream to aspire. My teenager has a Plan A and B which somehow converge in 20 years. And from my 50 year old perspective, it's never too late to dream as I see many dreamers on Etsy!

  • mossyrockpottery

    mossyrockpottery said 8 years ago

    I love it! I'm going to do this with my girls today! Maybe I'll even order some cards for them on that free card site... I want to encourage parents to follow their kid's lead when it comes to spending time with them. Instead of directing their play, or cajoling them into playing what I want, like a board game, I recently asked my girls, "What do you want to do for the next two hours?" I did suggest "play games, sing songs or pretend", but they both yelled, 'PRETEND!" Even though I H-A-T-E pretending, I threw myself into it. We had a great time pretending to be all sorts of creatures and characters. In the end, we really connected and it's paid big dividends. They just hang on me now. So much love. I will always pretend with them, and take an active interest in what they love to do, from now on. I still hate pretending, but I love them, so I will.

  • tfamily5

    tfamily5 said 8 years ago

    Love this! I have three girls and I have always made sure to never hinder their creativity. I teach photography to children and it is my favorite job I have ever done in my whole life. They are so uninhibited, they have never been told that what they are doing is wrong by me. I simply guide them and teach them the basics then we get inspired by as many photographers as we can get our hands on. I had this student once that took pictures of everything so close and it was always out of focus, after explaining why the other kids probably didn't like it (being that it was severely out of focus), she explained that she love it that way. I spent the next two weeks searching for a book at the library that was close to her style. I found an Artist that was exactly her style and the day I showed the class she beamed from ear to ear and not one student ever commented negatively on her work again. Sometimes they feel the pressure to make it look like their friends work and my motto is "wipe the tears, so your eyes can see what your imagination and brain are trying to get into that camera! There are no mistakes in Art! Nobody sees things the same. That's the beauty of Photography!" The best way to show them this is to have them all photograph the same thing and then we share. Best advise I can give is to never comment negatively on a child's art work or creative projects.

  • littlealouette

    littlealouette said 8 years ago

    thank you! Bravo!!!! xo

  • SewingdaSeeds

    SewingdaSeeds said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the awesome blog! The business cards are very inspiring ~ even to the young at heart!

  • HandiworkinGirls

    HandiworkinGirls said 8 years ago

    Aww, that's so sweet. Great idea for a Children's Day gift, too.

  • lebeloiseau

    lebeloiseau said 8 years ago

    My daughter is very dyslexic(an overused term) in her case a very specific problem where she will never read fast or spell well;but boy the girl can paint! She is now 30 and a professional muralist with 2 small children,but it was a rocky road to success. When she was teased in elementary school or called dumb she'd come home so full of frustration crying "why don't they know how smart I am!" I have feelings and I'm SMART. I would cry too that kids were so mean to my beautiful daughter. So we let her paint her frustration out on the walls of her room. One week it would be Yosemite's waterfalls with little mermaids swimming in the pools. Or the ocean with fantastic flying fish. She started gaining the respect of her peers and teachers for her amazing talents so they quit teasing her and her school work vastly improved with her new found confidence. All I can say as advice is to just let your kids shine. Provide every posibility for them to do what they do best. That sucess will pour into everything they do. She now is encouraging her little ones to find their own creative spirits.

  • sassinsilver

    sassinsilver said 8 years ago

    I think it's important to recognize what comes naturally to our children. We have four (collectively). My husbands 17 year old daughter has major leadership skills and is a true artist, where that will take her will be seen after art school in Barcelona. His 15 year old son has never shown interest in arts, sports, or school for that matter. We've come to except his nature. He wants to be a fireman and help people (for now) and considering his big heart, we think that would be a great decision. Our 9 year old boy is sensitive and drawn to music and the church. We support his interests and encourage him to make his own decisions even if they are different from our own. Our 3 year old is fierce and very decisive. We most likely won't be able to steer him in any direction. I'm hoping that we can leave him the necessary space for him to develop whatever talents he discovers along the way so that he can create happily. All we can do as parents and mentors is suggest, encourage, and show children what creative expression is (if we have any...) and try to find the time together and individually to flex that muscle!

  • clicknkids

    clicknkids said 8 years ago

    This is wonderful. It would be a great help to us moms!..can't imagine teaching and giving kids a degree of creative freedom! I know they would love it as well! In my kids I teach kids using a software in order for the to learn more! wasalso a big help especially this blog!

  • ginafourny

    ginafourny said 8 years ago

    Awesome! That's my daughter's photo you used...painting in the bathtub at one-year-old.

  • harvestmoonsoapco

    harvestmoonsoapco said 8 years ago

    I remember telling my mother I was going to be a stripper someday (I was between 5-7 at the time, not so sure I knew exactly what a stripper did) - I think she was so horrified, she couldn't say anything for a few seconds. Thankfully that dream did not materialize (well, outside of the bedroom anyhoo) Now that I am running my own business (while still in the limbo day job vs. business - Ugh! Just quit your day job already! I know, I know), I often think back to the powerful women 'bosses' I've had in life. They have provided such a terrific example of bucking the social norm and doing it very well. Now, with my sons, I hope to lead by example. I am often accompanied in my soap area of our basement by either my 5 year old or 2 1/2 year old. They can help stir (with safety goggles, apron and gloves on!), they choose the colors and they provide their opinions on scents (they give two thumbs up to lemongrass EO and a grimace to Patchouli - guess they're missing the 'hippy gene'). I want to nurture their creativeness (my 5 year old says he will be a Clone Trooper/Scientist - he's a little Star Wars crazy) and give them a good foundation in reading and math. I hope, above all else, they are happy and they do not spend 4 years of their lives at a college pursuing a degree they thought would earn my respect (like I did). The world is wide open to them and I make a habit of reading Dr. Seuss's "Oh The Places You'll Go." It provides a wonderful message for children (and adults). So, perhaps I should take my own advice to my children and quit my day job already?

  • adoodle

    adoodle said 8 years ago

    :) aww

  • faerieclare

    faerieclare said 8 years ago

    I LOVE this, thnakyou so much. I'm totally making business cards for and with my little dot (3yo) - she's going to be an art swimming teacher apparently: "...when the swimming lessons are finished I'm going to do art with all the kiddies!" I hope she makes it. Kids and adults dreams alike need to be nurtured and fed xxfaeriexx

  • junkshopUK

    junkshopUK said 8 years ago

    Love this post, and the comments! My mum was always so encouraging, being creative herself (yet feeling that life stifled that in her), and I had said I wanted to be an artist or architect from a very young age and never wavered. But when it came to applying for Uni I faltered. I went to a grammar school (I'm English) and everyone get good grades and a lot of my classmates were applying to do law and medicine, or other very academic subjects and I thought I was doing myself down by not choosing a 'hard' subject. So I applied to do English Literature (no better for finding a job afterwards anyway!). But because my heart wasn't in it I didn't complete the process and dropped out before I had even begun. I then spent 3 years clinically depressed feeling like I was a failiure, while all my friends drifted off into their career-oriented, confident, social adult lives. I was stuck in a sort of limbo. And all because I hadn't been true to myself. It took my mum those 3years to get through to me and get me to a day-class for pottery with a bunch of lovely old ladies. They reminded me how crucial to my life creativity is and if it wasn't for that humble little class I would never have had the confidence to re-apply to Uni, to study Contemporary Crafts this time. I graduated with a 1st 3 years ago now and am slowly building up my business and my skills with satisfaction, and a warm happiness that comes with doing something you love. I also now have a 5year old daughter who is a total handful! And it is my greatest hope that she will come to understand that she can achieve anything if she puts her mind to it. I will definitely be making her a business card (or more when she changes her mind) and I love the idea of giving her a camera and letting her create an album all of her own. Thankyou so much for the inspiring thoughts :) Laura x

  • neighborhoodvintage

    neighborhoodvintage said 8 years ago

    THIS IS TRULY AMAZING!!!! Don't you dare see my shop:

  • Endlesssong

    Endlesssong said 8 years ago

    Saving for retirment is important. You dont stop eating, dressing and living in a home when you stop working. And lets not even talk about health care. But I cant help but think that having a creative and innovative mind will only help my two young girls to live their live joyfully as well as "successfully". And when they get to 65 years (or what ever retirment is in another 60 or so years) I hope they can look back and see all the color, life and joy they have made, and not just long dull hours making money. But I also hope they can afford to eat.

  • amysoldschool

    amysoldschool said 8 years ago

    Love this post! My son attends the Denver Waldorf School and will be starting 2nd grade this next year. One of the MANY things I love about his school is the fact that they give kids the opportunity to think not regurgitate for a standardized test. I believe media can be a real creativity killer. The child who is constantly entertained never reaches the stage of boredom that leads to creativity. Such a hot topic!

  • girliepains

    girliepains said 8 years ago

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  • girliepains

    girliepains said 8 years ago

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  • nearlywild

    nearlywild said 8 years ago

    It's a little bittersweet to watch the video of those sweet kids. Somewhere along the line many get discouraged and stop believeing they can make their dreams real. I constantly push and encourage my not so little kid to think big when it comes to his art. He's starting art school this Sept. My hope for him is, wherever his creative inclinations take him, that he remains confident that he can make a living doing what he really loves. My job is to help him sort out what is reasonable to expect, and to keep him from getting overwhelmed by it all.

  • ladylovesgreen

    ladylovesgreen said 8 years ago

    My heart aches reading your remark about needing our kids to meet societal expectations. It's true, but it's also good for parents to question those expectations for some children. We gave our son, now 18, and our daughter every age-appropriate musical instrument we could think of starting at age 2 or 3, along with art supplies, shoe boxes packed with basic baking ingredients, garden space and seeds - real, messy stuff. Justin is now singer, songwriter and manager for his band PlaygroundBeatdown - and this is where his life is headed, as far as we can see, which is pretty far. It's exciting and terrifying. As a little kid, he did very well in school at first, and then not well, starting about the time we ran into 5th grade teachers who, for instance, wouldn't let him, or anyone else, bring in books over 300 pages because they thought it wasn't age appropriate (he was challenging himself to read a longer book every time. I guess that was disruptive). This pretty much killed his interest in formal education. We're so happy he found something he loves to do and is good at. It's risky, but he's definitely got the courage to be different - and we have to, as his parents. We'd love everyone to share his site - we're very proud:

  • abbyberkson

    abbyberkson said 8 years ago

    I love this. LOVE it! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  • abbyberkson

    abbyberkson said 8 years ago

    I love this. LOVE it! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  • hingmade

    hingmade said 8 years ago

    Your post reminds me of how great children are! ^^ We believe that children toys should be engaging and interactive and encourage parents to spend time with their children. Toys should also be special keepsakes for you and your child to enjoy over the years.

  • vanessamoore

    vanessamoore said 8 years ago

    This is awesome and so inspiring!! Love reading all the comments as well :-)

  • msmkk

    msmkk said 8 years ago

    I started school in montessori, which is a model that allows kids to follow their natural curiosity rather than force feeding them info. I had to go into public school soon after, but the ones who remained in it, who I know, are now PhD's at the age of 30. I think we need to NOT reinforce that some things are "fun" and other things are not. Kids will not know that veggies are gross or math is hard for girls, or that being a rockstar is cool and being a scientist is geeky, unless they are getting those msgs from somewhere. If they are getting those msgs from school, TV, friends family or neighbors, you need to change their school, turn off the TV, and have more influence on who they associate with. I am in international relations and the medical field, as well as arts and music, my spouse is a scientist and musician, most people I know have found work they enjoy and also pays the bills, as well as outside interests too and have full and varied lives overall. Only a few people I know insist on hating their day job and being a starving artist, or are unrealistic about their goals, or deciding that they hate their life but make no effort to change it. Life has too many possibilities to go after the most unrealistic thing and not find a way to enjoy yourself and also make it in real life i.e. support yourself. You have to support independent thinking in your kids which means allowing them to question and debate in their formative years. That way when they grow up they won't spend years doing exactly the opposite or exactly what someone expects, which is only acquiescent or rebellious, but will do something because it fits them and not because they feel the need to conform or rebel against anyone else's ideas. Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs is supporting an initiative of vocational education in school which I think could also help because the one size fits all model of "success" that is being taught in our schools (go to college, get a white collar job, make $ buy house, etc) does not fit everyone's idea or goal of success. The push that everyone should go to 4 year college is actually causing kids to drop out of highschool because they do not have the means, interest or aptitudes for college. There needs to be as wide a range of life and work options shown to kids as there are kinds of kids. There is so much cool stuff to do in the world that we should support kids', and all people's, interests to explore things they are curious about.

  • msmkk

    msmkk said 8 years ago

    I don't have time to read all these today but I will come back to them - I love what sassnsilver says about paying attention to your children's personality and interests. Amazing how many parents and teachers do not, and try to put round kids in square holes, because they simply have not paid attention or really know anything about the kids individually.

  • msmkk

    msmkk said 8 years ago

    When I went to an info session at the U not long ago, almost everyone was there for pre med, pre law, nursing, business, speech pathology, accounting, engineering, etc. I got the feeling everyone was going for degrees their families had pushed them into for status or $. These years are wasted because the students should be pursuing what they are interested in and show true aptitude for (in some cases, it is these careers the parents want, but more often the kids just peter out in them and then have to change their major or drop out anyway. Half an advanced degree gets you worse than nowhere - no credential to work with, in major debt, and years older). There are a lot more careers than those out there that are making plenty of $, some current and up-to-date job market analysis would provide some more options that students and their families may not have thought about. The first two years are prereqs anyway, it is good to have an idea but be open to flexibility at that point, or not require that a student go straight into school, or go straight through school, unless they want to. That being said, I will say that the only kids I know who went to college to be starving artists, are the ones who came from very well-off families and didn't know what it was like to struggle. The ones who are good enough they are getting scholarships and awards in the arts and sports, maybe they should be going into those professionally. But the rest, need to get a reality check or the Chinese saying is true (it takes 2 generations to make money and the 3rd one to lose it - the grandkids who grew up with money and now thinks that money doesn't matter, can't buy happiness, is even evil, etc. and become trust fund hippies, which is fine but there is nothing wrong with making $ too. All money is is time, energy and perceived value. It's a tool that can be used for anything imaginable. You can live lightly on the earth, on little $, or you can make more $ and use it in good ways too. No one said that making $ made you an evil corporate villain, etc).

  • akemanartist

    akemanartist said 8 years ago

    I homeschool my kids so they don't have to force themselves to fit in with the rest, I never fitted in and got a lot of flak over that ex. "oh you read books, ah you're a dork, why read, why read so much' yada yada yada. I am an artist and my daughter says she wants to be an artist but she is NOT detail oriented, she goes though things too fast and is off on the next thing. I suspect she has ADD or whatever but some artists on here are like that. She is very verbally creative and would be a great storyteller, she just can't spell or sit down long enough to write. So we do creative homeschooling, things she can do with her hands and whole body. She said she doesn't want to go to college and I said honey things are changing so much that many people will not need to do college unless for a professional job like lawyer or doctor. A lot of artists are self taught. My favorite writer who had passed on I heard, left school at 15, because of his many books, Redwall Abbey series, he was AWARDED a doctorate. That's cool. Follow your love and passion and be willing to work hard and don't give up, college doesn't teach you that, life does.

  • TheMacsX

    TheMacsX said 8 years ago

    What a great post. I loved the comments by thesittingtree and clareyfairy1. At 46 I'm only now rediscovering my authenticity and creativity. My creativity was always encouraged when I was younger but more as a hobby, the background noise always pointing toward something more serious that woul mke me 'successful' and put food on the table. I'm trying now to encourage my 11 year old son to recognise his authenticity and to hold on to it because it truly is the key. I don't want him to spend 40 years searching for what he truly wants for his life, realising he had the answer at 6. It's about nurturing the authenticity. And if anyone knows just how to do that let me know.

  • TheMacsX

    TheMacsX said 8 years ago

    What a great post. I loved the comments by thesittingtree and clareyfairy1. At 46 I'm only now rediscovering my authenticity and creativity. My creativity was always encouraged when I was younger but more as a hobby, the background noise always pointing toward something more serious that would make me 'successful' and put food on the table. I'm trying now to encourage my 11 year old son to recognise his authenticity and to hold on to it because it truly is the key. I don't want him to spend 40 years searching for what he truly wants for his life, realising he had the answer at 6. It's about nurturing the authenticity. And if anyone knows just how to do that let me know.

  • TheMacsX

    TheMacsX said 8 years ago

    What a great post. I loved the comments by thesittingtree and clareyfairy1. At 46 I'm only now rediscovering my authenticity and creativity. My creativity was always encouraged when I was younger but more as a hobby, the background noise always pointing toward something more serious that would make me 'successful' and put food on the table. I'm trying now to encourage my 11 year old son to recognise his authenticity and to hold on to it because it truly is the key. I don't want him to spend 40 years searching for what he truly wants for his life, realising he had the answer at 6. It's about nurturing the authenticity. And if anyone knows just how to do that let me know.

  • ChrisAnnPhotos

    ChrisAnnPhotos said 8 years ago

    I remember learning how to be creative from my grandmother. Every summer I would go visit my grandparents and learn some kind of crafting or art trade. She taught me to be an artist and for that I am greatful. She never told me what I wanted to do was out of reach. That was something other people in my life did. I was told I couldn't make a living making art and I became so discouraged I gave up for a long time (well, pretty much until about 3 weeks ago when I decided, "Screw it! I'm going to try to sell some art on Etsy!"). I think it is important we not discourage our kids. If they want to be creative for a living, then it is our jobs to give them the means to do so. Truth be told, if you want something bad enough I think people will find a way to make it happen. Just because the artists job description does not come with a 401K and insurance doesn't mean you can't get them AND do what you want to do. . . . and I agree. I TOTALLY want to be a Ninja Ghost Superhero! I bet that has AWESOME benefits!

  • annamariapotamiti

    annamariapotamiti said 8 years ago

    Awesome post- thank you for the inspiration!

  • magnation

    magnation said 8 years ago

    I don't have kids yet, but I often wonder how my parents helped me become a creative person and how they made me feel that it was ok not to follow a common path in life. I think it's because they treated all of my interests with respect and enthusiasm. When I wanted to paint, my mom and I painted together. When I wanted to be an astronaut, we sent letters to NASA. When I wanted to be a doctor, my mom let watch her boss (a surgeon) at work. When I wanted to play piano and guitar, I started taking lessons. When I wanted to join the middle school cheerleading squad, they took me to countless tryouts. When I didn't make it, they just reminded me of what else I could do. Now, I know what my strengths and weaknesses are, but I don't really see any limits.

  • hobbiesfromtheheart

    hobbiesfromtheheart said 8 years ago

    Beautiful post! I'll make sure to make business cards for my daughter in a few years .(She's 1 now). Thanks for sharing and inspiring us!

  • thevintageattic10

    thevintageattic10 said 8 years ago

    Wow ! What a great a post ! I encourage my niece's and love being with them so much and encourage them in all the way's I can . Seeing them at 2-3 with so much creativity is so amazing to witness ! I can't wait to have my own little one's I hope someday and will make sure to be supportive in everything in there life that all there dreams come true and there is not just one path in life . Something I did not recieve from my parents and still am looking for in life at 28 . I love my shop and providing the best customer service I love working with others but am so busy selling vintage that I have not had time to work more on my creative side but my dream is to run my own shop and store So parent's Remeber to support your kid's it really does have an impact on their self esteem and more then that in life Love this Post and article so cute and wounderful True!

  • lalawrence

    lalawrence said 8 years ago

    When my daughter was two she responded to that "what do you want to be when you grow up" question by saying, "Grandpa!" Having an adult in your child's life who lives and loves unconditionally with the enthusiasm of a child is the best role model for a successful life. Now she is grown with children of her own. When someone asked her 4 year old the "Big Question" he said, "Great Grandpa!" My dad has always had the gift of loving and a generous heart - and he also has the gift of letting people love him, too, He has taught us what is truly important in life and how to define success for ourselves.

  • lalawrence

    lalawrence said 8 years ago

    When my daughter was two she responded to that "what do you want to be when you grow up" question by saying, "Grandpa!" Having an adult in your child's life who lives and loves unconditionally with the enthusiasm of a child is the best role model for a successful life. Now she is grown with children of her own. When someone asked her 4 year old the "Big Question" he said, "Great Grandpa!" My dad has always had the gift of loving and a generous heart - and he also has the gift of letting people love him, too, He has taught us what is truly important in life and how to define success for ourselves.

  • HeartMuscle

    HeartMuscle said 8 years ago

    What Great Article! Heart Muscle is my sons Etsy Shop, he's 9 and he has had it for the last two years. He wanted to set it up to be like Mum and although he doesn't sell a huge amount and doesn't really make a profit, we think it is invaluable for his self confidence. For a shy and awkward child who struggles at school and is not good at sports, this is his way to shine!

  • RescuedRemnants

    RescuedRemnants said 8 years ago

    Great Post! Love the business card--wonderful for kids, but not bad for adults either to aspire "leaping tall buildings in a single bound"! Thanks for sharing.

  • mybeardedpigeon

    mybeardedpigeon said 8 years ago

    I think if we just encourage them to just be nice. Be kind. Be generous and helpful. If they are all of those things then whatever the decide to do as a job will be ok. Great food for thought. Thank you!

  • ScribblesEmbroidery

    ScribblesEmbroidery said 8 years ago

    I am a fourth grade language arts teacher. I see kids everyday who can't think for themselves. I am so excited I can take these ideas and turn them into lessons for my kids. There are so many lessons here. Thank you!

  • ScribblesEmbroidery

    ScribblesEmbroidery said 8 years ago

    I am a fourth grade language arts teacher. I see kids everyday who can't think for themselves. I am so excited I can take these ideas and turn them into lessons for my kids. There are so many lessons here. Thank you!

  • ScribblesEmbroidery

    ScribblesEmbroidery said 8 years ago

    I am a fourth grade language arts teacher. I see kids everyday who can't think for themselves. I am so excited I can take these ideas and turn them into lessons for my kids. There are so many lessons here. Thank you!


    CECILIAROSSLEE said 8 years ago

    Love this post! I have made check books for my kids when they were small, complete with perforated stubs etc. Gave them a feeling of importance, uniqueness and creativeness. Thank you for sharing.


    CECILIAROSSLEE said 8 years ago

    Love this post! I have made check books for my kids when they were small, complete with perforated stubs etc. Gave them a feeling of importance, uniqueness and creativeness. Thank you for sharing.

  • myelmo

    myelmo said 8 years ago

    I would suggest you look into the book, The Hundred Languages of Children which discusses the many ways children view and experience the world. We find at our preschool that following a child's lead and respecting their interests keeps their imagination, creativity and sense of self intact and creates joy in the entire school community!

  • sariblue

    sariblue said 8 years ago

    love this!! My six year old can do anything with scotch tape and tooth picks and no one will tell her she cant. she loves school still but I fear the day someone tries to get the creative mind to focus on the reality of the world around grown ups...... too much time is spent on organized play and I love that my girls really make up their own lovely little world of creative play, gives me such inspiration and tons of happiness

  • sariblue

    sariblue said 8 years ago

    love this!! My six year old can do anything with scotch tape and tooth picks and no one will tell her she cant. she loves school still but I fear the day someone tries to get the creative mind to focus on the reality of the world around grown ups...... too much time is spent on organized play and I love that my girls really make up their own lovely little world of creative play, gives me such inspiration and tons of happiness

  • robinanddaisy

    robinanddaisy said 8 years ago

    Wow, serendipity! This article was a bit of magic for me... Thanks for this article!!! Today my frustrations about my parents' lack of support of my creative dreams sort of came to a head, then I came upon this article, though I don't even remember how, and while I was reading it my mom came in to find out why I was so glum. I got courage from reading all your comments, and I ended up telling her every thing about my dreams/goals. In the end she surprised me by telling me to follow my dreams, that finding happiness is the whole point of life and I've got a long life to live. Now, I know my dad will absolutely disapprove of my dreams, but at least I know one parent supports me and won't try to kill my dreams all along the way. I know I will have to work hard, but I know I can and I am excited to do so. I have been looking forward to this since I was 5 years old and saw Bob Ross on t.v. and learned that you could do art for a living as a grown up, and tried selling dandelions and drawings in my wagon door-to-door! I can't wait to start selling on etsy soon!

  • GemdropsoftheFalls

    GemdropsoftheFalls said 8 years ago

    Absolutely wonderful blog. It is so important to continuously encourage children. You asked a great question: "How do we encourage him to keep his head in the clouds, while keeping his feet moving on the ground?" Just love and support will give our children the strength and courage to follow their dreams. Wonderful read. ♥

  • Gon2potMom

    Gon2potMom said 8 years ago

    This is all so wonderful and caused me to look back at my three boys... I am a potter and always have been to them..but it's really just for fun these days, and in fact been way too many since I've been to the studio BUT... My heart (the boys) are growing. The oldest is 23 and graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design a year ago and landed his first real DESIGN job in Providence, Rhode Island... As a teen I allowed him to paint murals on his bedroom walls (well 2 of them) and even though there was a dark cloud on one wall with black rain and I worried... I loved the words around the frame of the window which made you think... they said, "Do the Blind see in their dreams?" and that was only one of many phrases in the mural..another was "If God drops the world, does the 5 second rule still apply?" I remember my Mom just loving to sleep in there when she visited to read the walls... My second Son started college to become an Architect...but found it too difficult to chase all his creativity down to two lines on a paper.. He took a semester off and is now in Salt Lake City with a solid business plan to build his own Snow Boards... I never worry about him, he knows what it takes to love life and he does it...they all do. Although all my boys were great students, my third and the smartest is the writer and I can hardly wait to see where life takes him..a 7th grade teacher in social studies last year having to teach about the middle east and all that is happening said to me "I love the way his mind works, he just gets it", and he really does. I made it through about 50% of these posts and thought you might like to hear from another who was almost on the other side. I have to say though...if I was to say where did it all start, I would say decorating their rooms and giving them the power at a very early age (by 4) to say what it was that surrounded them at night as they lay in their beds. The oldest had the murals and ended up with a room that looked like the outside of a beach house with hardi-plank siding on two walls and all his homemade surf boards he started building in 9th grade when he learned to surf. The second started with a room that was under the sea with a wave line and nets and an ocean of blue. My youngest reads A LOT and wanted nothing but book shelves and Japanese artifacts from his grandmother. We did the entire room Asian with lots of book cases turned every which way and even managed to paint a mural of bamboo wrapping from one wall to the next. Give them their space and let them tell you as it should be. It's really fun to dive into someone else's dream to help too. These days I have a new boy in my life my 14 month old grandson from my oldest who's Mommy is still finishing up school in Savannah at SCAD... We have already started casting his hands and feet which he thinks is cool but, he too will find his place in creativity as soon as he really figures out how the sprinkler works cuz it's sooo much fun right now chasing it! I loved this post!!!

  • LaFiabaRussa

    LaFiabaRussa said 8 years ago

    lovely!! Wonderful read. ♥

  • EricaNoelsJewlery

    EricaNoelsJewlery said 8 years ago

    I am not a parent, but reading that is very inspirational once I do decide to have children. Thanks for this post!

  • dew24710

    dew24710 said 8 years ago

    Very nice post. Thanks for sharing!

  • SimpleWares

    SimpleWares said 8 years ago

    I have a 12 yr old, 9 yr old and 6 yr old -- All boys! Ever since they were little they have changed their "when I grow up ___________" answer at least a zillion times. Every time they came with a new word to fill in the blank, I was excited for them and we would then sit down and talk about how they could achieve the dream of that particular moment in time. I am their mom, however, I am also their biggest cheerleader. I love cheering on every accomplishment, not matter how small. I think making them feel so grand about themselves, again even with the smallest accomplishment, will instill in them they can go farther in life, dream bigger and better, and maybe some day I will be the proud mother of a bulling riding, train driving, farmer -- My youngest new "when I grow up" answers!! And yes, three professions is way cooler than just one!!!!

  • colourmetwice

    colourmetwice said 8 years ago

    You know, my biggest ambition in life when I was that age was to be a waitress. That's what I wanted to be when I grow up. In high school and college I worked for the same retail company all the way through (same principle) while the whole time my mom pushing me higher, pushing me to get out of there because "You don't want to work there the rest of your life, do you?" I had the brains for so much more and she (a teacher) certainly didn't want me to waste that in some allegedly unfulfilling job. Three years into college, now really stuck and confused, I high-tailed it to the Navy not telling anyone what was going on until a month before I left. Got married too young while in, got out went to massage therapy school, got divorced, moved west to Colorado, tried to go back to school for Psychology again but all of the passion was gone. Pursued photojournalism and really took off. I took the time to go on a wild crazy journey in life so I could figure all of that out. My mom hated it, yet she was still supportive. She was worried, yet knew I had a good head on my shoulders and would figure it out. I think, no matter what you do, your kid is going to feel lost and blame you and feel like you did it all wrong. My mom tried so hard to be opposite of her own parents and it still ended up "bad". But she kept a good sense of humor, an empathetic ear, a bag of encouragement, and what I like to call IDEALISTIC REALISM nearby. Because guess what I found out? That retail job *would* have been unfulfilling. I am now pursuing my Master's in Pyschoneuroimmunology AND traveling for Photojournalism. And my new, wonderful man I was meant to be with, husband is a chef...and we are drawing up plans for a cafe/restaurant. (Guess who gets to be in charge of front of the house AND wait table?) We have a wonderful 2 yr old who's temperment and sharp mind come straight from me, and yeah, I'm trying to figure that out too. But I have a tattoo design in the works, to go across my upper back. It is a Centaur: all four feet rooted to the ground with the arrow whizzing off past the moon...

  • colourmetwice

    colourmetwice said 8 years ago

    PS My mother almost never supported my monetarily. I think that made a big difference in my decisions, in a good way. Once or twice she bailed me out in the beginning, but after that, hey, I can do anything I want in life, as long as I understand how to live off of it. Idealistic Realism ;)

  • MilliePurl

    MilliePurl said 8 years ago

    I think that no matter what our dreams may be, whether practical or impractical, it takes hard work to get there. So, in this case, my advice or thoughts would be to display and encourage hard work and practice goal achieving while also nurturing their creative imaginations. Also, most things that kids say that they want to be when they grow up are nonexistent and nearly impossible. I have never met a ninja ghost super hero or have heard of one. However, with anything in life, our dreams mature and become more realistic. It's not their imaginations we should take literally, it's their drive and inspirations.

  • evkdoesburg

    evkdoesburg said 8 years ago

    My children are now at the age of 28, 23 and 18. We helped them to think big by taking their ideas serieus and help them to work those ideas out. No matter how realistic or unrealistic. Everybody learns by failing and we learned our kids that failing doesn't mean you're stupid but that not being affraid of making mistakes means you're brave and that you will become smarter by every step you take.

  • sweetdolls

    Dawn from sweetdolls said 7 years ago

    What a great post!

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