What did you want to be when you were five years old?
Did you play pretend with your friends and argue over who got to be the main character?
Are you now gainfully employed as your favorite childhood role? Maybe, maybe not. To those parents who dreamed of being a firefighter or a chef or beyond, you’re literally living your dreams! To everyone who didn’t become The Hulk or a fairy princess, it’s ok. Your dream just changed and you’ve accomplished a new one!
The important thing is that you dared to dream.
In one of our favorite new books, Dream Big by Kat Kronenberg, Baboon watches Caterpillar, Tadpole, and Flamingo gaze up at the night sky and wish upon a star for their wildest dreams. He insists these dreams could never come true. But when he sees Caterpillar turn into a winged butterfly, Tadpole into a dancing frog, and Flamingo into a beautiful pink bird, Baboon realizes that a transformative power exists between these stars and the animals once they truly believe in themselves and their dreams. When Baboon tries out this secret, CATCH-M, his Magical, Mystical, Wished-Upon Star, whooshes down from the heavens to ignite the courage in his chest too, and, we don’t want to spoil it for you, but what happens next is fantastic!
Just like Dream Big, our goal is to help campers ignite the spark within themselves to discover, empower, and inspire their best selves. Here are some ways you can encourage your child to dare to dream big:
- Engage in creative play. But your camper wants to be a “unicorn trainer on the moon”? That’s awesome! What do the unicorns like to eat? Do they have special talents? Do the unicorns have names? This is the opportunity to roll with play time and see just how far your child’s imagination stretches.
- Ask what they want to be when they grow up. Your camper may go to a birthday party at a roller rink one day and become determined they can pay rent on teaching roller skating lessons. It’s a start!
- Show them around where you work. Cubicle, corner office, co-working space, it doesn’t matter! Help them visualize where Mom or Dad actually head off to in the mornings.
MIDDLE SCHOOL AGE
- Encourage different clubs and hobbies. At this stage in development, your camper is trying on different personas and trying to figure out who they are. One day, you’re a track and basketball family, and next, they’re asking about ceramics and theater. It’s all about discovery!
- Ask what they want to be when they grow up and why. Did they see it on TV or in a book? Did something spark an interest in school? Do they enjoy working solo or as part of a team? This is the time to learn why they are motivated towards certain tasks or projects.
- Discuss what success means to them. How do they define success? What does success look like? There are many different ways to consider yourself successful and you can start the conversation now.
- Begin to research the how. At this stage, they’re beginning to think of their plans for the future. What does your child envision as their next step down the path of life?
- Share stories from your teen years. Teens can feel a lot of pressure to figure it all out right now and, as parents, we know the plans we make at 18 don’t always stick. Let them know it is ok to change their mind!
Our kids should know that we support their dreams 100%; we’re always in their corner and on their team. By encouraging high expectations (asset #16) and with a solid base of support, campers shape a positive view over their personal future (asset # 40).
Kat Kronenberg is the author of Dream Big, a book that shows how, together, we can all be inspired to identify and pursue our dreams, no matter how big or impossible they may seem. Kat is the mother of a former camper and has been part of the Lonehollow family for years.