Thursday, October 28, 2010
Thanks for the Well Intentioned Dream Squelching
The latest dream or hare brained scheme, depending on how you look at it, involves attempting to visit all 50 states in the next 5 years. Phase 1 would probably be a car camping trip across the southwest states. My kids have been having a great time researching, plotting on maps, taking notes and looking at websites for all the amazing National Parks on the way. Girl Child has started a notebook to collect our research in, and Boy Child has started a change collecting jar to help with gas money. I've started talking to friends who live along the way that we'd like to visit. Of course, we'll have to come up with a lot more than loose change to pay for it, and there are plenty of logistics that I haven't yet worked out, but it's been exciting and fun to dream and scheme together. But, there are always people who will rain on a happy parade, even if they don't really mean to.
I was not there during this exchange, but the kids said she suggested they tell me they didn't really want to go because I was only really wanting to do it for them, and if they told me they'd rather save up for something practical, we could do that instead. Her practical suggestions were indeed practical, and yes they were things that would make life nicer, but when I am old and on my death bed, I don't think I'd be fondly remembering the new water tank I once bought. I do think I'd remember a cross country adventure with my kids. Plus, trying to talk kids in to trying to talk me out of something sounds a little manipulative.
The last card pulled was the safety card. "You could get mugged." Well, that's true, but I could get mugged every time I go downtown or to the grocery store or park. I go to big cities in my state, why am I in more danger in another state? Are National Parks and Landmarks really so dangerous? The biggest safety concern I have is the car breaking down, which would of course be a huge bummer, but I have AAA and I'd just have to deal with it- just like I would have to if it happened in my own state. Besides, if we listened to the "wait till you're all retired" argument this same person gave, we'd all be too old and frail to run away or fight off all the scary bad guys.
Yes, having dreams means taking risks, and there could be disappointment if things don't work out. But, what is the alternative? A life with no dreams? Is that really what I should be encouraging in my kids? Just chugging along enduring a boring life with no dreams, well, I think that sounds like it could be pretty miserable. I think I'd rather take the chances on dreams.