When my oldest son was 3 years old, he wanted to be a garbage man when he grew up. Probably stemming from the fact that I have always had a tight relationship with my garbage men over the years (running them bottles of water or cans of coke out on a hot day), they satiated Jackson’s desire by letting him throw the garbage bags into the back of the truck from time to time. When the mystique of the truck crushing the garbage wore off, Jackson moved on to new and different hopes and desires. Immediately following sanitation was fireman (which was dispelled quickly after a practice run at being one in Wannado City, Florida), then came FBI Agent, followed quickly by CIA Spy, and finally he settled on NBA or NFL player. Maybe both? If everything went the way he planned.
I never want to squelch my sons’ dreams, so more often that not, I go with their plans. Take for example, we visited the Spy Museum in D.C.; if you have not cottoned on yet – we watch, play, and in general chat a lot of basketball. Then, there are times that recess politics or team dynamics dominate our lives, and in response to to squabbles over who is the all-time QB on the playground at school, I may reply, Just play and have fun, I don’t think anyone is going to the NFL from your class. This is ALWAYS met with Mom, you cannot say that…You never know. OK – I guess you are right, and I certainly do not want to be accused of not helping you to reach self-actualization.
My mom – the ever doting grandmother – has mentioned before in response to any professional sports aspirations, BUT, does he have a back-up plan? This is when Jackson decided after a career in the NBA, NFL, or both, he was going to be a surgeon. We’ve come a long way baby from garbage man.
Anyway, if you were under a rock or something and did not know this – yesterday was the Super Bowl. The Baltimore Ravens played the San Francisco 49‘ers. We had a small gathering. Eight adults and Nine Kids. The Kids watched the game while instagramming away, the Dads screamed at the TV and indulged in Smores Brownies made by my friend, Stef, and the moms drooled enviously at Beyonce. I have to admit that I have not paid much attention to the Super Bowl since our team was not playing, but liked the idea of having a good reason to get together.
Alright – I am getting to the point. My mom called early this morning. She does every day. This morning she wanted to chat with Jackson (who was checking Instagram and reading the sports section). My Mom, the voice behind the backup plan, proceeded to recount for Jackson the story of the 49‘ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who wrote in a letter in his FOURTH GRADE time capsule that read this:
I’m 5 ft 2 inches 91 pounds. Good athelet. I think in 7 years I will be between 6 ft — to 6 ft 4 inches 140 pounds. I hope I go to a good college in football Then go to the pros and play on the niners or the packers even if they aren’t good in seven years. My friend are Jason, Kyler, Leo, Spencer, Mark and Jacob.
There you have it. You just have to dream is, wish it, write it, and aim for it and your dreams are there for you to have, Jackson. Whether you want to be a garbage man or a point guard in the NBA, it is your dream to have and not my place or anyone else’s to squash it. I heard the message loud and clear. I am pretty certain, Jackson went to school today forgetting the back-up plan and rather negotiating the merits of professional football vs. basketball.
I am so good with that. I am more than good with that. I have spent a good part of my life resisting the dream, but dreaming is good. Look at Colin Kaepernick (I should say, I know his team did not win, but I would say he won), Steve Jobs, or Oprah. All dreamers themselves. Dream, Dream away…..
It is a fine line as parents to fan the flame while being realistic, but I don’t think it is ever wise extinguish the fire. The dream is the spark….and the kindle is the imagination…and the fire only grows as big as the person fanning the flames and adding the logs.
Am I just blowing smoke?