As an English teacher, Deirdre Mullein's Words to Make My Dream Children Live, Langston Hughes' A Dream Deferred, Hold Fast to Dreams and I, Too, Sing America, Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's I Have a Dream Speech were a few of my favorite literary works to teach, especially during Black History Month. Teaching our children to dream is important. Teaching our children to dream early in life is even more important. Our children need to know our dreams, and they need to see us taking steps to achieve those dreams. Joint celebrations are fun ways to pause and acknowledge milestones and accomplishments.
Once we talk to our children, explaining what worthy dreams are, like making all A's, making the cheerleading squad or learning to ride a bicycle without training wheels, we should help them identify the steps they will need to take in order to obtain those goals. Our role as parents, educators, mentor, role models and caretakers is to guide them on their journey. With every successful accomplishment, self-esteem and confidence are added benefits.
Sometimes, dreams and goals are used synonymously. Keep in mind that dreams are more about the journey. Be sure to teach children the difference between night dreams, daydreams and real dreams. They must understand that any dream worth having will take patience, faith and determination.
My children’s book, BJ’s Big Dream, is about a young boy with a BIG DREAM. His dream actually takes years, but he is determined not to give up. Though he meets challenges along the way, he stays the course. He actually has dreams within his dream, and in these dreams he sees himself as he wants to be. This helps him stay focused and concentrate on his dream even more.
So, ask your child or your students what are their dreams? What are their plans to accomplish those dreams? Who will help them get there? Are there obstacles they might face? How will they overcome these obstacles? Who are their role models and what dreams have they accomplished? Once they reach their dream, what will they dream next? It’s important to keep these conversations going to ensure our children aren’t selling themselves short and that they are DREAMING BIG!!!