Never Squelch a Child’s Dream


The Dream Squelchers of this World

Why do ‘well-intentioned’ adults continue to squelch children’s dreams?

They stomp on their enthusiastic sparks and think they have the right to tell kids what they can and cannot be. 

It is not for us as adults to decide.  

It is up to our children.

The All Too Common “Dream Squelching” Scenario

Playful Kid: “I am going to grow up to be an astronaut.”

Adult: “Oh honey, they don’t send people to the moon anymore.”

What just happened there?  In less than 10 seconds flat, a dream was squelched.

Here’s another, all too common, “we know best” scenario seen in youth sports:

12-Year-Old Youth Athlete: “I am going to play in the WNBA.”

Youth Coach: “Not going to happen; fewer than 1% of athletes ever play professionally and besides, none of these kids will ever go on to play in college.” 

Notice the tactic:  Idea introduced and then immediately negated.  Adult offers statistics to back up the theory of why the idea is absurd to assure the child of their inaccurate thinking. This common tactic is often referred to by adults as a “healthy dose of reality” or toning down the ambitions of an overzealous child and putting them in their place.

Yet another attempt to grab a dream, throw it to the floor and stomp the life out of it. 

Children Believe What They Hear

Children believe what they hear, especially from trusted adults. 

If someone has told a child that they cannot “be” something, guess what? They believe it. 

Those negative seeds are implanted in their heart and mind.  When adversity rears its ugly head, they will recall those words and convince themselves that they cannot do or be something. 

All because they believed what someone once said to them. 

Protecting Our Children’s Dreams

Whatever happened to breathing life into children’s dreams? 

Instead, adults focus on all the obstacles.  They literally pour their “skepticism” on and snuff out a child’s dream, reassuring them of why it can never happen. 

Adults somehow are convinced that they have the right to tell kids what they can be, or more commonly, “not be” because of the “we know best” mentality.

What gives anyone the right to strip a child of their dreams? 

Whatever happened to letting our kids dream out loud… and to dream big?

Why not teach the process and the teeny, tiny baby steps that must be tested, faltered and mastered along the way in order to reach a dream?

My hope is that we teach our children:  

  • Strength, resilience, and perseverance.
  • That no one else has the right to squelch or limit THEIR dreams.
  • Not to listen to the naysayers and with conviction say back to them, “Watch Me.”

Message to Parents

Protect those cherished dreams of your toddlers, kindergarteners, teens and of all children.   

Breathe and speak life into those precious dreams. 

And, if you ever find yourself in the presence of someone who lets a child down gently with all the reasons why they cannot “be” something; or, you overhear them whispering under their breath how terrible of an athlete their child is and that they have no hope in ever being any good or going on to play in high school or beyond, please immediately assume the superman stance, speak up and be bold enough to say,

“Never EVER Squelch A Child’s Dream.”

P.S. The Backstory 

Back in the Fall of 2013, a mom sat in the crowd at a youth basketball tournament, watching a tall, gangly, middle school student flounder on the basketball court.  Parents around her were screaming and declaring how terrible a player the child was and remarking on how the child couldn’t even catch a ball.  They didn’t realize that child’s parent sat right alongside them.  

[Editor’s Note: That student is now one of the top high school basketball players in the country.] 

Fast forward to March 2018:  A 7th grader comes home from school and says, “Mom, a kid at school told me today that his dad said I was the worst one on the team and can’t play basketball.  Mom, guess what I said back to him? ‘Watch Me!'”

Both times these instances happened, and the countless other times, my eyes welled up with tears.

I thought to myself, good thing my heart and my kids’ hearts know better than to listen to the naysayers of the world.

NO ONE has the right to squelch your dream.

NEW:  Check out the audio version of this blog post: