I don’t know whether it’s just me, but I wonder why when we become parents, and particularly as we start to age (well we’re doing that our whole lives!) we start envisaging the future for our kids instead of for ourselves.
Naturally we are going to have dreams for our children, what parent wouldn’t – and we are going to sacrifice some of our own ambitions to help our kids achieve theirs. Most parents are prepared to compromise on their goals (it’s part of the gig), but that doesn’t or shouldn’t mean ignoring our own dreams completely. And it doesn’t mean transferring your own dreams to your children so you can live vicariously through their successes (I’m no stage mum and definitely not one of those Dance Moms).
It can be too easy to fall into the ‘martyr’ trap of putting your children first, denying yourself the chance to chase your own dreams when really what you are doing is succumbing to your fear of failure. You can make the excuse that the day-to-day joy and sheer importance of raising empathetic, resilient and happy kids is ‘living the dream’ and going after anything for yourself is selfish or somehow diminishes the role of parenting.
You can, as I’ve been doing, visualize a bright and clear future for your kids while your own place in their future, your own future itself, remains clouded and murky at best.
I have to try hard to envision my own future, while my mind’s eye is crystal – Miss Yin shining up on stage, having blossomed into the beautiful dancer she is becoming. It is a picture of such clarity that I feel like I am willing it into reality.
She’s the one putting in the work, pursuing the passion, believing in herself because life hasn’t taught her yet that some things are impossible, and because we’re teaching her that anything is possible if only she believes. And she’s being resilient even when her dance group doesn’t place at an eisteddfod, because that’s what belief is all about.
The dream is the dance. The dance is the dream. And her self-belief is the music inside her.
And wham, just like that, as Miss Yin auditioned for a Dance Excellence program for high school last week it struck me (after I came back down to earth from swelling with pride). I need to believe in myself, not just in Miss Yin. I need to dream even when things don’t seem possible. I need to put in the hard work (and stop making excuses) and get crystal clear on my passions. I need to be resilient and empathetic (staring with some self-love) in order to truly value my own happiness and cut myself some slack as I chase my dreams. I need to not give up before I even start.
Our kids teach us a lot don’t they?
Indulge me now – Miss Yin rehearsing for the audition (she did beautifully).
What lessons have your kids taught you lately? What dreams are you chasing for yourself (or your kids)?