In 2007, I sat down on my living room floor and opened my book for a night class I was taking at a local community college. The course was Astronomy.
To my delight, 5 chubby little fingers started to comb the pages I was looking at. Staring at a world of stars, planets, and beautiful nebulas in amazement, he fell in love, right then and there. His world was changed and his dream was realized. After that first moment, he wanted to learn more, read more, soak in more about everything space related. Year after year he announced that he wanted to be an astronaut, work for NASA, and one day belt himself to a rocket headed for a new planet, Mars.
Now I know what you’re thinking. For a moment I thought it too. That’s every kids dream, that’s too far fetched, but he was absolutely certain. I patted his head, picked him up and said sure, sure. Now as he bends down to hug me, I finally get it. His dream never changed and I have invested in him to help propel him forward.
The fascination that our kids have with different subjects steal our hearts. Dare them to dream big! Never say can’t and always know that anything is within their reach.
After years of supporting my son’s dream through innovative ideas, dedication and numerous amounts of time playing taxi driver; I’ve come to note that there are several ways in which you can help your kiddos take a hold of their dreams! Here are 5 tidbits that I felt were most important! I hope they shed a little insight on how to plug into their worlds and to help in their goals, aspirations, and dreams!
When I think of inspiration in terms of supporting my kiddos I think of activating their beautiful minds and getting them engaged. You can do this by taking them places, such as science museums, art fairs, wildlife habitats, air shows, etc. It goes without saying that the library is a phenomenal place to research topics extensively and some even have passes to educational facilities. You can also sign them up for classes, or summer camps, or even space camps!
This is also a great segue into “experience gifts” for the holidays. Instead of asking for material items, try asking for tickets to a game, a dance, or a theater production. Maybe the grandparents could contribute gift certificates for lessons too. These classes are an ideal way to spark their interest! As they become older you can look at internships and career classes that cater to young adults.
2: Make Community Connections
This is far and wide a fantastic way for kids to learn how to be a helping part of a community. You can start by asking local organizations if they would like some help with an event, or perhaps volunteering at a church, or a soup kitchen.
As your child gets older you could also consider a more strategic approach to volunteering. What I mean by this, is looking at their interest and plugging them into a volunteer position that complements it. For example, if they are interested in wildlife see if they could work with a wildlife reserve or rehabilitation center in your area. The great thing about volunteering is you are giving back and you never know who you might meet in the process!
3: Take The Opportunity
When an opportunity presents itself, I say always take it! Especially when it is a good fit for your child. Networking is a huge part in helping to find ways to keep your child engaged. By talking to people, researching groups, and reaching out you’re sure to start that network. i.e.: If you find yourself talking with someone about an art show, see if they showcase young talent, see if there is an opportunity to have your child speak with some of the artist themselves, or see if there are any local groups that foster the growth of young artist.
4: Make A Match With A Mentor
This is probably the most pivotal point, especially as our children get older. Many mentors will know the ins and outs of different career fields and can help as a guide to which classes they should take, what paths are available and which pitfalls to avoid. On a separate note mentors often have knowledge that we parents don’t possess; especially when we are not in that certain field.
Mentors are incredibly generous with their time and love to have kids pick their brains! It also helps the kids who are growing into young adults learn more about taking an active role in their own dreams and to converse with an adult about the realities of their future. I would also highly encourage you to become a mentor if you aren’t one. So many kids can benefit from your knowledge, which could lead to their success!
5: Create A Social Account
This one is probably the most controversial. I say this as a mom of three teens, I understand your hesitancy. However, for older kiddos an account can be useful to make connections to other kids with similar interest. It can be a way for them to showcase what they have done and get feedback from a community. As well as maintain relationships, such as mentor/mentee, that have already formed.
This is noteworthy because as we all know military life moves us, a lot! Social accounts make it a little easier to keep in touch. Whichever platform you decide to use I highly encourage the use of parental settings and keeping a close eye on communication.
I hope this piece helps you a little. We all love to talk about our kids and what they want to become when they grow up. Sometimes it changes daily and other times it stays the same forever. Either way we love our kids, we constantly support them, and we will never give up believing in them. Keep growing strong milspouse community, you all are amazing and so are your milkids!