I assume that I am not alone in having many totally unrealistic and totally delusional dreams of “what I would like to be when I grow-up” as a kid.. Around age 11, I went through a phase of insisting I wanted to be a singer followed by this passion to be a ballerina. Being tone deaf and unable to carry a tune and despite pleadings from my sisters, “Please don’t sing!”, I still jumped into this dream for a short time. My one sister would yell at me, “You CAN’t sing!” or “Stop, this is torture” and I’d sing louder, actually believing that I sounded really good. The ballerina dream was even more delusional, considering I had a large frame, even as a kid and at 11 I was already wearing women’s size 10 shoes. Added to that, I had no sense of rhythm, coordination or grace. My mother told me point-blank that I was not built to be a ballerina, but she had a knack for skillfully redirecting my passions to areas where I had a little talent.
I still throw myself into hobbies with gusto, but I am well aware that I will likely suck at most of them, like my most recent Zentangle. Yes, I am well aware that I lack artistic talent, but I enjoy exploring new hobbies and while I rarely become expert at most of them, with practice my efforts become much better and that’s the lesson I’ve tried to pass on to my children and grandchildren. Practice may not make perfect, but it always makes you better at just about everything you attempt. Teaching kids to practice and complete tasks assuredly will aid them more in life than cosseting them, because even prodigies need to practice and learn self-discipline. Teach kids to acquire a wide range of skills and not to put all their hopes into some long-shot dream -that’s smart contingency planning for life.