Thank you to one of our Warrior Dad’s for sharing his story of dreams, losing them and then finding them for your children.
In the beginning, we all have dreams for our children.
Whether it was in the hospital delivery room, or like for us, the day in court when the judge pronounced us adoptive parents. I had thoughts and visions of the type of contributing, productive member of society our children would become.
I was never the parent that hoped my child would grow up to complete my unfulfilled dreams. I did not pray they would travel to space as I had once dreamed. Because poor vision had kept me out of competitive sports, my fear was that we would be raising Olympic athletes and I would struggle to find hobbies and topics of conversations to share as they grew up.
But, the high hopes I had for our children to become Nobel scientists, award-winning artists, or even Olympic athletes were all swept aside by a tidal wave of diagnoses – speech delay, inattentiveness, hyperactivity, working memory issues, and more. And then came the school evaluations –poor social skills, under-developed fine motor skills, and sub-par reading comprehension. What had once been a dream of raising Mankind’s best and brightest became the daily struggle of raising special needs children.
Instead of watching my children become avid readers, we spent hours with them on phonics and learning how to infer information from stories they should have read last year. Instead of watching them become excited about science, we struggled to memorize facts for accommodated tests. And there was no need to attend parent-teacher conferences; my wife was at the school on average every-other week for IEP meetings, evaluations, or a meeting with one of the special education specialists.
And there were also the meetings with doctors, practitioners and therapists. Lots of them. In MANY states. The time and money that would have gone to travel, to visit our 50 states and Europe as we taught our children how to appreciate art, and skiing, and sailing…. instead our discretionary income was spent on treatments and therapies that often provided only incremental improvements.
So, somewhere along the way, between the doctors and the IEP meetings, the dreams died. I no longer had big dreams for my children. I no longer tried to inspire them or help them develop aspirations for themselves.
But, today’s sermon at church about parenting made me realize that it is my responsibility to ensure that I have a dream for my children. God offers us no greater responsibility or opportunity than to ensure our children grow into the person that He designed them to be. And it is an unfortunate effect of living in a broken world that some of our children show that brokenness more than others. But, that is an opportunity for us to ask for strength and inspiration from Him to pour into our children.
So, instead of pursuing selfish dreams of grandeur that reflect more on our parenting than it does on those we parent, we need to scale those dreams to something that our child can obtain and derive self-esteem and confidence from. Instead of focusing on the fact they are not first chair in the school orchestra, rejoice in the fact that they learned to tie their shoes before they entered middle school. Instead of bemoaning their continued need for speech therapy, rejoice that they introduced themself to someone in the lunch room. You ask teachers and others to accommodate themselves to meet your child’s abilities – shouldn’t you do even more when imagining a future for your child?
Have a dream for your child and help them reach it!. And after they reach that dream, and the next, and the next, they will eventually have learned to make their own dreams and envision their own future. And you will have truly fulfilled your role as a parent.