So the other day, my 4.7 year old is lying in my arms as I am rocking her to sleep. I ask her what do you want to be?
She smiles and says “ A dishwasher”
She totally took me by surprise. I mean at her age I said I wanted to be a doctor and stuck to it. Perhaps the odd sidetrack of wanting to be an astronaut or a firefighter but I was pretty set on what I wanted to do since I was knee high to a grasshopper.
I asked her” are you sure?”
“ Yup “ she nodded. “ A dishwasher.”
More cuddles and then off she went to bed.
But that left me with the beautiful opportunity to contemplate.
She wants to be a dishwasher. From her vantage point thats the most important job. From her small height she sees her parents doing dishes and that helps her eat food. She wants to be part of something that connects her to us and doing something useful.
she cant reach the kitchen sink yet. This is her goal to advance and grow up and reach that height and do this task.
It is when we have something in our immediate vicinity or what we can imagine in our greatest of ideas is what we strive for. Is her dream small ? No. It is as big as she can make it given her size and height and she can “look up to her daddy doing that “
I do not want her to become a doctor, an engineer, a lawyer or ELSA the princess ( she wanted to be that one day too) . Its not about what “ I want”. It is about her crafting her own vision and expanding it to whatever “she wants”.
When she grows up and gains more height, lives more in the world around her and explores further she will figure it out. My job is to give her the space to do so and not confine her into a box of my ideal job description.
All too often we stifle a child’s creativity by asking them to carry out an impossible task. To complete our unfulfilled dreams or undertake society’s values and responsibilities by following an archaic system made by others who choose to create drones and workers and not creative geniuses or leaders.
It is sad but true that the dreams of most kids are stamped out by the product of their schooling and the unrelenting hovering of their caregivers. We breed compromise into these children’s hearts through rules and regulations that we mistake for discipline.
I often here that we must teach children to toughen them up to the world. I would respectfully disagree. This comes from the fears of those that hold such ideals as they have lived their own fears through experiences and in so doing convinced themselves that the world is harsh and cruel and we are just a byproduct of Darwinian evolution of fierce individual competition. I hold the firm belief that it is not the child that needs hardening but the child to be able to hold its gifts with such power and tenderness that it is the world that softens to their contributions. The world is not good or bad. The world is in perfect balance. It is our perception of it that is distorted and so too our judgments that we cast upon our children.
If she wants to wash dishes I wish her all the best, because I know they will be extra sparkly like her personality, and she will excel in whatever she chooses to undertake. This is not the breeding of mediocrity. This is the wisdom of allowing a flower to bloom at its own natural organic pace.
I love you