Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dreaming the Hotdog Dream

The time has arrived in our world for Lula and KJ to begin selecting their courses for the next year in high school. I never panic too much about the process, I let them choose whatever they want basicly. I know that's not how you are suppose to do it. I understand that you are suppose to work with them to develop a post secondary strategy and then guide them in selecting the courses that will get them to their goal. I understand that is how the good honor roll, ivy league parents get the job done. I also don't care.

When E-man was little (or littler than he is now) he had one desire. He wanted to be a hotdog. Not the guy showing off on the basketball court or the hockey rink, or a guy who makes hotdogs, not even a guy dressed up as hot dog. He wanted to be an actual hotdog. A real live, lips and arsehole tube steak on a good old fashioned enriched white roll with ketchup. It was hilarious! In his defence he was not quite three years old and being a hotdog was as plausible as being a princess, a juggler at the circus or a mermaid. We got such a kick out of it we used to use him like a party trick... “Grandma, ask E what he wants to be when he grows up.” For 6 months anytime someone asked his answer was 'A Hotdog' there was no wavering. Something else that never wavered was the reaction. “That's silly, you can't be a hotdog!”

At first E was adamant that 'yes he could so be a Hotdog' he would argue and defend his dream. By the end of his 6 month hotdog dream he was answering with 'I know.' Looking back it kind of breaks my heart, he didn't know he couldn't be a hotdog, not until everybody told him it wasn't possible, not until everyone told him that his dream was silly. Eventually he wanted to be a policeman like every other little boy.

We do this, in the name of securing good futures for our kids, we rob them of their dreams or rather opportunities to dream every day. We tell them what they should be pursuing, guide them away from pursuits that seem pointless, fruitless and time wasting. We redirect them and tell them them when they want to be a hotdog that their dream is silly and not achievable.

How on earth do you discover that you have a passion to climb a mountain if no one ever lets you wander in the foothills with a rope and a carabiner?

High school is an amazing opportunity to try everything and anything on. Where else can you be a chef in the morning, an account executive before lunch and an auto mechanic in the afternoon. I have one rule when it comes to picking courses. Pick whatever you want, as long as you go, as long as you give it your all. It's your life, your choices, your future. If I steer your ship, you may never discover the land that excites your passion. There will always be time to reroute, pick up the courses you need and re-chart your course. They may very well be in high school for 8 years, I get that. I also get that is so much easier than waking up each and everyday heading into your job as a pharmacist wishing you were a hotdog.

Gratitude today for the freedom to dream.

"Dream, all things are possible for those who believe"