7 ways to catch your kids dreaming

it's the really fun part of parenting. when they dream and you get a glimpse of their future.

scary sometimes, i know.

their dreaming may come out in words, but often the best dream-catchers {that's you and me} see it when they are alive in play and imagination.

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{even at walmart. which, in our reality, is once a year!}

one of our kids dreams and breathes simultaneously. it usually requires multiple items from the recycling bin and an office supply from target. but it's recently gone to a whole 'nother level. at the prime age of 9.


we're talking business cards. brochure. and a babysitter who made him a logo.

take a glimpse into his very own written words for his business, Sam's Ideas:

"Sam's Ideas provides education and health care for a boy in Uganda, Africa. He's a friend of Sam and his family and has big dreams for his life."

"Baseball cards cost $1.00 per pack. Each pack contains 7 trading cards. Some hold 2013 cards or they hold 2014 cards. If you buy 5 packs you get $.50 off. About al the packs contain 1 or more "good" cards. The cover is made with tape and paper. Also, they are easy to open."

"My advice: if you want to start a business, start small. Later, you could make it bigger. And always think big and use your imagination."

"At the age of 9, Sam was interested in starting a business. Before, when i.e. was 8 years old, he built an arcade. It went great. Now Sam is trying again. So far he has no employees. But if you would like to work with him just come see him."

"Many people helped me start Sam's Ideas. Praise Santos, my family, and Rick Burge have played a big part."

i'm not the only parent catching my kid dreaming.

but in case you're wondering how to catch them dreaming...



1. let them be bored.



if all of your time and their time is filled up, then structure rules and eats up free space. it's in the free space that their minds dream. (whatever. our minds too!) it's hard to dream while watching ninjago or playing angry birds {ah-hmmm...scrolling through Facebook}. it's so much easier to dream while staring out the window in the car and laying still at night and having down time and getting away. dreams from a tv show or someone else's life is a repeat, not a dream. amazing, life-changing dreams need some free space to grow. boredom is an activator to dreams.

2. let them go and touch the spaces where similar dreams are shaped.



our favs have been apple headquarters and espn.{perks to the bay area and friends who know people} we get our kids in front of food scientists and engineers and start up folks. you can set up a tour at a company. invite people over for a meal that can tell the kids what they do for a living and how they got there.  start modeling how to have conversations with dreamers in front of your kids.

3. let them do hard things while you're close by or at least aware!



i want them to try it on my watch! okay. or for them to run home telling me all about it! i want them to look back at their childhood and see adventure and memories and family. hard things, for us, include biking among cars and playing up a league in sports and conquering a fear of giving a speech in front of peers. it's climbing to the top of a lighthouse as a preschooler and seeking forgiveness the next day at school. hard things can grow easier so let hard things happen now.

4. oh, let them read.



and read what they want. that's what makes them readers. not what we push on them, but what their minds hunger for. now, i'm the kind of mom that picks out chapter books from the library and says, "read one chapter." they're genres are expanding because of those first chapters! but still, one is prone to mysteries and sports. the other to particular authors such as roald dahl and kate dicamillo. and the other reader is tangled up in animated characters. readers escape to the world of "what if?" and come back believing "i can!" 

5. let them succeed. let them fail.




 so selling baseball cards was not his first attempt. he's held an arcade. after a week of exercising patience for him as i cleared my calendar for this arcade, he thought he had surely failed. waiting is not failure. it's just waiting. {profound, i know.} yet there will be times as they attempt their dreams for failure. sit in their sadness. brush off their knees. keep your mouth shut. move on to something else. get ice cream. do it again.

6. let them believe they can do anything when they give it their all.



our kids need a cheer section. not for approval sake...heaven knows this generation is getting plenty of that! but deeply because they want to make a difference and need to know they are not alone. our kids need to hear the right words, not the fluffy ones. they need to know that obstacles are before them and not everyone will understand. they need to know the Source of their creativity and strength when the going gets tough. and they need to see their dream catchers at the finish line. 



7. let them serve {and not just giving away toys they are tired of}.




dreamers serve. dreamers might have their minds wrapped around an idea, but the best ones know they don't conquer the world alone. so let your kids touch people. speak to people. smile at people. first of all, people that live near you that they could encounter again. let them knock on doors and make thank you cards. when their minds are off of themselves, they dream in a whole new realm!

so you, the dream catchers, what is required of you to catch them dreaming?