I am working with GreenDot Public Schools for my summer internship. This year we’re launching a cool campaign called #HopesandDreams. We travel to each of the schools and ask kids of all ages to share their hopes and dreams with us. We have these white boards where they get to write in whatever they want, and we make sure to tell them to write big – because your dreams are BIG!
Let me tell you, especially with everything going on in the world right now – these kids have been a beacon of light. They are so innocent, inspiring, honest, and in most cases hilarious. What has really stood out to me the most about them is how big they dream! There are no limits, no influences of what they “should” do, just what they love and want to be.
“I want to be a construction builder and help poor people.”
“My dream is to be an aeronautical engineer and an astronaut.”
“I want to be an etymologist.”
And my personal favorite, “My dream is to become a famous singer to make enough money to start a bakery so I can get enough money to fund my own dance company.”
What?! I LOVE it! You go girl!!! I am praying and cheering for you. You can do anything! You can do everything!!!
It got me thinking though, in this awkward 20 something age that I’m at, I hear a lot of conversations about people being or feeling “stuck.” They hate their current job, don’t feel fulfilled, and generally don’t know what to do or how to move forward. They feel they have to stay the course and do whatever it is that they’re supposed to be doing. This happens for a number of reasons, but interacting with these amazing kids in this campaign sparked a thought in my head – when did we stop dreaming?!
“My dream is to be a doctor… and the President.”
We used to be unstoppable! Limitless even. The world was once our oyster and now? We too easily become confined by our current circumstances. When did we stop believing that we could do anything? Everything? My mom always told me that kids are the smartest and most amazing people in the world until adults mess them up, and now I am starting to see how true that is. At some point in our lives, a person, situation, or circumstance planted a seed that we weren’t good enough, or couldn’t do it all. Something somewhere along the line convinced us that we needed to be more realistic and accept the status quo. And we believed it.
“I want to get a master’s degree, be a teacher, and an entrepreneur.”
I saw this in real time during the campaign when one of the adults was helping a child and said “You want to be a lawyer and a teacher? Don’t you mean or?” Why can’t it be an AND? I have also seen evidence of these lasting effects from situations like these in my own life. I used to love math when I was little. We had the Math Olympics and I was always first in line to raise my hand and answer questions… that is until a teacher told me I wasn’t good at it. I had trouble understanding some subject matter and I got my first C on a test in high school. From then on I decided that “I am not a math person.”
It wasn’t until I was studying for the GMAT to get into business school that I realized how debilitating that had been to my growth in that area. I let one thing someone said and a stupid test determine my barriers. Well, I realized that the “not a math person” box is too small for me. So I got rid of it. How many little seeds like this have been planted in your life telling you that “that’s just how it is” and to just accept it “because there’s nothing you can do about it?”
Well, you don’t have to. You’re not stuck. You may hate writing or math, and that’s okay. You don’t have to like everything. This post is more to encourage the exploration of your self-imposed limitations. They might not be actual limitations, but the remnants of something that someone said many years ago. Don’t own that. Dreaming alone won’t help you become unstuck and it won’t fix all of your problems. What it can do however, is help you get back in touch with the unstoppable, fun, wide-eyed and excited part of yourself. Why not have fun and explore? I mean, you still can be anything you want! And you don’t have to limit it to this “or” that… It can be this, that, and more =)
“I want to make it big so my family and me won’t ever have any worries.”
What are some of your #HopesandDreams ???