The first time I started to think about this subject was many years ago when I overheard two fathers talking. One had young school age children and he asked the father whose children were all now grown up and away from home a question.
"If one of your children had a dream you thought they could never achieve what would you advise?"
I immediately butted in:
"To follow their dream.."
Neither of them paid any attention to me and they continued seamlessly with their very grown up discussion on the subject. Their agreed conclusion was that the parent had a duty to protect his or her child from the likely consequences of an immature and ill-judged ambition.
It is not that I don't understand the desire to protect from hurt and disappointment but it left me thoughtful. How do we know what someone else's journey through life should and needs to be? What are these adult rights and wisdom that can legitimately trump the rights of the youngster to explore his or her own meaning and destiny in life? We can not offer total protection from disappointment but we can be there to listen to the pain. We can show how we cope with loss and hurt - and give the message that disappointment will not destroy and there are people around to care and help.
I was able - in the end - to follow my dreams and am fortunate. They have mostly worked out. The purpose of my life - anyone's life - is to grow emotionally, psychologically and spiritually and my way has been to follow my dreams. There is risk. I might have followed a dream and then found it had all been a waste of time. I might have had to make sense of a major disappointment, deal with a sense of unfairness. But those set-backs would all have been part of my life journey, enabling my growth - a growth that I hope continues until the end of my days.
One Christmas in the early1990s I watched a film called Salt Water Moose - I even recorded it and was so moved that I suggested that Rob should watch it. At the end he asked how many stars the Radio Times had given it to which I replied - one. His comment was "That many!" He can be grumpy. And fair play, on our fourth viewing together, he had reached four stars!
It is a lovely gentle story of two children, Jo and Bobby, living in Nova Scotia. There is one moose living alone on a small island out in the bay and they want to find another moose, build a raft and take it to join the single moose.
|Jo and Bobby|
Bobby's mother is concerned about the danger and she attempts to get Jo's Dad to join her in stopping them. His response is to say "I am not the one to say 'No, its too difficult for the likes of you'. There's plenty enough people in the world to tell her that. But what I will do is to make sure that the raft is sea worthy and keep an eye on them."
Jo and Bobby find a lovely moose they call Beatrice and after some set backs and a bumpy journey succeed in taking her over to the island to join the other moose. Such films operate at many levels - for me this is a cinematic exploration of the psychic importance of growing well and being encouraged to follow a dream and manage risks.