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Why you shouldn’t kill your child’s dream

by Joyce Remo

AS cliché as it may sound, I started writing early. I used to keep small journals when I was in third grade and write short poems about the flowers I picked in the school garden and the dogs I saw on my way home. I have always liked the idea of scribbling down my thoughts on a clean sheet of paper. 

Writing has been some kind of escape route for me. That’s why when the opportunity to be part of my elementary school’s newspaper came knocking on my door, I dropped everything I had to venture for this new path.

My daddy, being the strict father that he is, wasn’t entirely happy with my decision to join the school paper. Nonetheless, he let me do it. He said that maybe being a campus journalist runs in our blood because my sisters had also been part of the school paper during their time. 

Delighted that my father allowed me to join made me think about my dreams of becoming a journalist growing up. With this goal in mind, I always attended our daily training. I wanted to be good at it and the best at it if I could. I want to make my daddy proud.

When the district press conference came, my hard work paid off when I won third place for copyreading and headline writing. That fueled my desire to continue pursuing this new-found passion for journalism, and the following year, I snatched the gold medal in the same event. Finally, I am doing something I am good at and love. I never wanted anything more.

The pursuit of journalism continued when I entered junior high school. Although being part of the Special Science Class (SSC) made training extra hard because of the long hours in school, I never once lost the drive to do this one thing I love the most. It was my dream, after all. 

I hustled into becoming the best copyreader in town, won recognition in press conferences, and was promoted to copy editor of our newspaper; it was my career’s golden age. I focused too much on my journalism career that my grades went lower and lower until I failed my trigonometry class in ninth grade.

My father was furious. When he knew I got a 73 in Math, he told me to quit journalism for good. He uttered the most painful words I have ever heard in my entire life just to discourage me from that little dream that I had. He said there were no opportunities in journalism, that being a writer wouldn’t make me rich, wouldn’t bring me success, and that writing is a waste of time. Hearing those words from my father broke every inch of my heart.

Upon entering senior high school, I tried to forget about journalism. My interest in psychology has been boosted since I took the Humanities as my specialization. Daddy told me to take Psychology as my bachelor’s degree in college. 

“There are more opportunities there,” he said.

Not able to write as much as I had during junior high school, I slowly lost the burning fire in my heart for journalism. I completely stopped writing as if I had never written before. I felt empty and lost, as if I had forgotten my identity when I stopped pursuing my dreams. I may have aced all my tests and even graduated valedictorian in senior high school, but I wasn’t happy. There was a gaping hole in my chest that ached for journalism.

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Self-doubt and discontent 

That happens to children when we dishearten them in chasing their dreams. When you stop believing they can, they also start doubting their capabilities. They need to catch up in the tracks they are running in.

They’d begin questioning themselves because they can’t seem to determine their identity. They’d start to feel like they were prisoners for they cannot do what they want to do and start thinking that grasping for their dreams is a sin.

Moreover, pushing children to do something they dislike and doesn’t make them happy will result in a lifetime of discontent

Children are not objects to reach unfulfilled dreams

According to Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, some parents often believe that “the child shall fulfill those wishful dreams … which they never carried out.” This notion often makes them see their children as an “object of their own unfulfilled dreams and ambitions.” 

It is pertinent for parents to understand that their children are not an extension of their lives.

My father learned about this the hard way. When I was about to take psychology in college, I discovered that the university I am entering also offers a degree in journalism. I figured that was a sign of finally returning to where I was supposed to be. 

Angered by the fact that I went back to journalism, he repeated the exact words that had broken my heart a couple of years ago, but I told him this was my dream, the only thing I wanted to do.

At first, my father was silent. He sighed and told me he couldn’t do anything about it since this was what I wanted. Maybe it has finally occurred to him that just because I don’t have big dreams of becoming a lawyer, doctor, or engineer doesn’t mean I am lost.

Don’t be another ‘no’ in their lives

When you kill your child’s dream, you also kill their happiness. Instead of spitting out awful things to them just because you don’t share the dreams they are dreaming about, support them in the best possible way you can. Let them wander in the path they chose to walk into. If there would come a time when they would stumble and fall, help them learn to get up.

Your child’s journey toward his dream would be challenging. They need not hear verses that would drain their spirits as they take their first steps in turning their ambitions into reality.

Parents should not become another “no” in their children’s lives but rather someone that nurtures their hopes and dreams.

My father has learned to believe in my dreams as much as I believe in them. He was there, together with my mother and sisters, to share my downfalls and victories with me.

Whenever I would share small achievements with my father, for instance, writing my first article or seeing my name in the video credits of content I worked on as a scriptwriter, my father would always tell me he was proud of me.

These constellations of words may be little amid a vast pool of stars in the galaxy, but they are enough to keep me going.

Looking back, my dreams of becoming a journalist have seemed impossible, but I am now writing for a publication, finally living that decade-old dream.

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