“My Parents Let Me Be Delusional, and I’m So Glad They Did” originally appeared on Baby Making Machine, and was reprinted with permission.
My favorite singer when I was growing up? Whitney Houston. Without a question. I wanted to be just like her (OK, this was before the drugs). I thought I had the pipes. I wasn’t afraid to sing in front of anyone. From school talent shows, to karaoke on vacations, and solos in front of neighbors. I thought I had a gift.
My parents never discouraged me, or told me otherwise. It wasn’t until a bunch of teenagers at a family reunion laughed at me that I got a reality check. Actually, even then I still gave occasional performances for friends and acquaintances — anyone who would listen.
You know those people in the first round on American Idol who are so terrible, but they think they’re good, and their parents totally support them? I was a little something like that. If the show was around when I was 14, I totally would have been ridiculed.
Eventually my parents allowed me to take singing lessons to improve my “natural abilities.” Were my parents wrong for never telling me I sucked? Or were they good parents for allowing me to dream big and go for it?
I met a woman whose mother told her own daughter she was born with a vocal cord abnormality, which is why she didn’t have a good singing voice and shouldn’t try to show it off.
I laughed with her as she told me that story, and how she believed it, but I wondered if that was the way to go with raising my kids. Should I teach them to dream big, or to be realistic?
No matter how unrealistic my dreams appeared, my parents seemed to back me up. As I grew up, my dreams shifted and became slightly more pragmatic, but I’ve always been one to shoot for the stars.
Lil’ J’s kindergarten teacher asked each of the class members to write down what they would be if they could be anything. They were instructed to dream BIG! My daughter drew — and I quote: A mermaid fairy princess.
My daughter’s school is following the 7 Mindsets Academy curriculum and the first mindset they’re practicing is “Everything Is Possible.” As parents we’re encouraged to resist the urge to give our kids reality checks, no matter what their dream is. The idea is to not be a pessimist or doubt their dreams.
I probably didn’t do the best job of supporting that plan, but I did tell her I thought it sounded cool. She’s 5, so this will most likely change at some point. I just have to remind myself along the way that dreaming and believing big along with my kids, can go a long way in shaping who they become.
Carl and Ellie in Disney Pixar’s UP wanted to become adventurers. While they had years and years of adventures together, it was in his old age that Carl had the experience of a lifetime. There’s an UP house in Utah that I had to stop by and take pictures at with the kids. I feel like it’s a great symbol for dreaming big.
More from Baby Making Machine:
- Words every mom needs to hear
- The time my biracial daughter asked about my brown skin
- Why I stopped straightening my hair
- Raising a girly Star Wars fan