I am currently reading an amazing, life-changing book titled “The Dream Giver” by Bruce Wilkinson. So far, this book has altered the way I look at my life and examine my dreams. It has been an eye opening experience. The book highlights the significance of pursuing your dreams, no matter what. In one chapter the reader is challenged to discover who or what has prevented us from pursuing our passions. “Dream Giver” asks whether or not family or friends were responsible for extinguishing the ideas and plans we have for our lives; telling us we weren’t going to make it or that the dream made no sense or was unrealistic. This one particular statement stood out most to me, “maybe your family made it clear, without ever saying, that you’re not expected to accomplish much”. This sentence of course immediately made me think about my role as a parent. I am pretty confident in the wisdom I verbally share with my daughters, but I have not considered what I don’t say and the affect it has on my children.
I nearly cringed just by reading those words. That simple statement immediately created a small panic in me. We push our children academically by sharing our expectations regarding the types of grades they bring home. But I don’t know that I stress enough just how much I truly expect them to accomplish with their lives. I highlight the future in terms of continuing on to college and performing well there, but unfortunately that may be the extent of it. I hope we aren’t, without ever saying, that they are not expected to accomplish much.
I am realizing this parenting job is so much bigger and deeper than I sometimes acknowledge. Not only are we responsible for the lessons and discipline we share with our children, but also the actions and non-verbal communication we display. My children need to hear, feel and know from me that I expect them to excel in everything they do. I must make it clear that they are never to let anyone, including me; tell them what they are incapable of. Their dreams are real and attainable and my biggest expectation is that they pursue them with everything they have. So if I ever forget to say it, I must express it with every smile, expression, and embrace we share. I want my unspoken message to my daughters to match the words I verbalize.
BMWK, what unspoken messages do you feel you are sending to your children? Is it the message you want to send?