Wednesday, June 22, 2011

You have the whole world in your eyes

Wow!  I haven't written in ages!  The last few weeks of school were crazy and hectic and then, on the last day of school, I picked up the boys after class, put them in the car, drove to the airport, got on a plane, and started our first summer trip!  We just got home and I've finally settled in enough that I feel like I can take a few minutes to write. 
This thought has been on my mind for a while now.  Well, actually, since the last day of school.  On that final day, Robert came out of class loaded down with his backpack, yearbook, a beach ball and a huge folder full of paperwork and art from throughout the year.  We took a few minutes to look through it before we went to the car and this one picture stood out from all the rest.  It was Robert's self portrait.  For an eight year old, it wasn't a bad likeness, but that's not what struck me.  I looked at it and said to Robert, "Wow, this is really good!  Especially the eyes.  I love the colors you look like you have the whole world in your eyes."  Those words and all that they implied,  stuck with me.  I began to think that for him, "having the whole world in his eyes" means so much more than the color of the crayons he chose to use for his picture.  Because at eight years old, he still does have the world in his eyes...for him...anything is still possible and within his reach.  He explained to me once how, when he is a grown-up, he will have a job that will let him do all of his favorite things and still be a paleontologist (which has been his goal in life since he was three).  He said that he will obviously have to read about Egypt and dinosaurs to be a good paleontologist and he loves to read. He will then have to go explore the area, digging around and looking for bones and artifacts.  Then he will have to write about his findings (another thing he loves to do) and, of course, he will do his own sketches and artwork.  Then he will create models of his discoveries with Lego's.  These Lego sculptures will be so amazing that they will be in museums and people will ask him to create rides at amusement parks about his Lego creations and then he will make board games and computer games and wii games about all the things he discovered as a paleontologist.
Could he do it all?  Right his eight year old mind...YES...he could.  Will he always believe it?  Probably many of us still believe it? 
Of course, I want my son to grow up and get a good education and become a "fine adult", but what do we sacrifice by becoming adults?  I think we loose the world in our eyes.  We start to realize that we should pick a single educational goal.  That we should really have one (or two) vocational aspirations and only a couple of real careers in our lifetime. 
I know that Robert will grow up to be something spectacular.  I also know that when he starts taking about what classes he wants to take in high school and what he wants to major in when he's in college, then I'll know he's become a man and lost the boyhood dream of becoming the Lego building, ride creating, computer game programing, author/artist/paleontologist. 
Wouldn't it be nice if we could all go back and remember when we had the world in our eyes and everything was full and rich with possibilities?  When we still believed that we could be that professional athlete, the movie star, lead singer in a rock band, the astronaut, the president.  Those were good times! 
I think as parents and adults we should be slower to tell our children that "those things aren't all possible" or "you'll never be able to do all of that when you grow up".  We shouldn't always be so quick to say, "well, that will take a lot of work and YEARS of college" or "very few people become professional athletes/singers/actors, you should focus on something more realistic".  They will discover these things soon enough.  Let's let them dream and imagine and "have the whole world in their eyes" for just a little while longer...