Making Our Dreams Come True

I’m continually seeking more practical and more usable assistance for all who love and are in the process of raising our children, and as I searched through several pieces last evening I found a statement by a man who many know as an Entertainment Genius to give me a helping hand – Walt Disney.  Yep, that Walt Disney, who gave us several theme parks in this world – parks which entertain many visitors the year around.  So, what would this genius suggest that children need as they grow into adulthood?  Read his words and then I’ll expand just a bit:

“Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C’s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.” -Walt Disney

The four ‘C’s’!  Makes sense to me!  Probably as important as the three ‘R’s’ – and modern research suggests, maybe even more important!

     1) Curiosity: Children are born curious, and in some places – in some cases – we do our best to stamp that out of them and force them into situations where they become like everyone else.  When we attend t0 the acts of curiosity demonstrated by our children, they tend to duplicate those creative activities. Some of you will remember the little story about the five year old boy was asked to draw a tree, and he drew ‘his tree’ – all covered with reds and oranges and yellows and many other colors.  When the teacher saw ‘his tree’ she said that wasn’t a tree at all and recommended that he make a trunk of grey/brown and with all of the leaves green.  And, he did!  And, by the end of his first year in school, he had been turned into everyone else his age – ‘trunk grey/brown’ and leaves green – just like all the other kids! Boring!

     2) Courage: So, we need to give our children the ability to confront: a. fear, b. pain, c. danger, d. uncertainty, and/or e. intimidation.  Our words can serve as encouragement in this area, but in reality children need to have experiences of their own to test their ability to face hardship, death, and acting appropriately when faced with typical moral questions. To shield children from these learning experiences is to handicap them in many ways, and, of course, we never want to expose children to those experiences we deem beyond their ability to conquer.  Are they going to fall short from time to time? – absolutely.  We might want to follow the advice I received from a colleague at the University of Wyoming while studying there:  “I want my children to stub their toes without breaking their legs!”  The presence and availability of a helping hand here will be essential to the child’s  growing with courage.

     3) Constancy: Living things find comfort and safety in knowing what will happen when.  My pets need have confidence that they will be fed at a certain time and in a certain place.  They’ll need to know there is a constant bedtime and a time arise.  And, our children also thrive on knowing what to expect when certain things are coming toward them.  Constancy becomes security!

     4) Confidence: If you’ve walked along with me at all during these chats, you won’t be surprised to hear me say that this might be the most important of these four ‘C’s’!  The basis of self- esteem and so many other positive qualities lie squarely in the knowledge expressed in these words:  “I CAN DO IT!”  and “I CAN DO IT BY MYSELF!”  Letting kids try new things and then struggle toward mastery is essential in this area!  They’ll skin their knees, they’ll tip over again and again, they’ll fall and fall again, they’ll get tired before they become skilled.  And, they will learn to ride that two-wheel bicycle.  And, do you know that you’ll never need to force them to practice this?  You’ll eventually need to call them away from this activity and into the house to eat their meals.  And, no sooner will the food be gone, they will be once again gaining this skill and the confidence in knowing – “I can do it myself!” 

Learning to ride the two-wheeler can provide the template for learning many other things, and our children will have the confidence to face anything which comes their way!

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