By Jaime Mejia P. (Translated by Jessica Schwartzman)
Some parents ask this question when their children are one or two years away from finishing high school. It is a fortunate situation to be in, but one that comes with worries about their choice of university and major, where they will go, and how much it will cost.
The other side of the coin is that the child must choose wisely about what they will be doing for the rest of their life. Like our grandparents say, there are two things that one shouldn’t get wrong in life: the career you choose and the partner with whom you build a family. After all, both choices are defining decisions for the rest of your life.
I think they’re right about that.
From Proverb to Reality
The dream of being an astronaut ends with the stars we see in the sky when money is tight. However, there are many examples where perseverance and tenacity have turned dreams into reality.
It is important for parents to encourage their children’s dreams, not just economically, but with unconditional support for their achievements. Motivate them!
A parent should praise their child instead of overprotect them. This provides them with the tools to forge a promising future filled with high standards, well-defined values, and of course, great responsibilities.
As for the child’s responsibilities, the only true task they have at that stage of life is to go to school and gain knowledge. Then, after gaining 15-20 years’ worth of academic knowledge (for those who have this privilege, of course), they will have the tools they need to achieve their desired goals.
What happens on the other side of the tracks?
Our story continues, but now in a space mired with adverse circumstances: a kid that goes to school hungry and tired. They couldn’t sleep the night before because their father came home drunk, creating a massive scandal in the neighborhood. Then, the next morning, they go to school less hurt than their mother. What future are we creating for these children…?
…Where parents work paycheck to paycheck to provide food, pay for utilities, and are barely able to afford school supplies for their kids.
…Where kids see their goal of graduating and fulfilling their parents’ dreams for them disappear in a sea of anxiety when school is no longer an option, because they must work to help out their family.
Yet, some of them manage to end this cycle and prepare themselves for something better in life. They truly believe that change is possible!
Life gives each of us obstacles to overcome. Many times we stumble and sometimes we fall and hit rock bottom, but other times we are able to get out of the mud. Whether we manage it or not depends on individual circumstances, the way we were raised and the tenacity and perseverance that we put into turning our dreams into reality.
In the words of Walt Disney: “First, think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare. All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”