A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about the messages your children will hear that will encourage them to succeed. I predicted that the message will be “people with grit make it in the world.” Grit as I define it means courage and resolve as a strength of character. As a child, what did you dream of becoming when you were an adult? For a time, I wanted to ride a horse and have a pet monkey just like Pippi Longstocking. I also played school a lot with my sister’s dolls. Then I vividly remember wanting to be a detective and figure out mysteries. I did work as an archeologist in the US and Central America for about 15 years – which somewhat fulfilled my dream to be a detective. My graduate education and second career allowed me to be the teacher I played at being as a child. Although I didn’t get a horse and monkey, I do feel that my dreams came true.
What do your children dream of becoming when they are adults?
How are they encouraged? Some of the ways that children can be encouraged is to talk about their ambitions and how to get there. If a child wants to be President of the United States, encourage them to work out how they could do that. Talk about what it takes to be president. Challenge them by encouraging academic risks, and celebrate successes no matter how small. Giving children opportunities to see new things, and meet new people is important for developing social skills for life. Many families do not have the means to travel the world. Your children can see the world reflected in the books they read. Reading to your children, with your children, and role modeling reading is the most important thing besides love that parents can do for children. Many children choose fantasy or animated characters to focus on during their play. A much healthier dose of exposure to real-life heroes and learning about their lives is a gift and a positive way to focus ambitions. What about doctors, authors, firefighters, pilots, veterans, and teachers? Encourage your child to learn more about the people they come in contact with on a daily basis. Children can be heroes, too!
The dreams of Elon Musk
This morning, I was watching a TED talk conversation with a remarkable man, Elon Musk. Elon was an avid reader. He was also bullied throughout his childhood in Pretoria, South Africa. He has since become an American citizen. At age 10 he was interested in computing and by 12 years taught himself computer programming. He created a BASIC-based video game called Blaster and sold it to a magazine called PC and Office Technology. Today, Musk has a long line of companies from Zip2, PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, Hyperloop, OpenAl and The Boring Company that he has been involved with. Not to mention his co-founding of Neuralink, a company to integrate the human brain with artificial intelligence. Musk’s dreams included building electric cars, electric trucks and an underground tunnel that will allow skates to transport cars under the freeways around Los Angeles in a fraction of the time that people sit in traffic today. I watched the following video before reading more about Musk’s background. He is definitely a person who has worked hard to follow his ambitions, ideas and dreams.
I am also reading the series The Expanse, written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck under the pen name of James S. A. Corey. The Expanse is currently a Syfy television series. I don’t read a lot of science fiction, however, when my son recommended it and I found that they are well-written I was hooked. In this series, there are people living on Mars. The connection to the rest of this essay is that Elon Musk has ideas about people living on Mars. Maybe not in my lifetime, but maybe in your children’s lifetime. . . . add astronaut to your list of real life heroes!