The Beginning of a Dream
When I was little I was encouraged to dream, but I was also encouraged to stay practical and understand that dreams did not always pay money. Unluckily for the next generation it seems that this has changed. Now dreams seem to be actively discouraged. The cost of living is high, the economy is struggling and children are being channeled in an effort to `make a country better´. I strongly disagree with this.
At school my son was asked what he wanted to do when he grew up and he answered `I want to build a skate park´. The teacher told him that he could not earn money doing this but it could be a nice hobby. When the conversation was recounted to me I struggled to hold onto my cool. I did managed to pull it together and we sat down with a pen and paper and together we drew a skate park that he wanted to build. Check out the list below of what my 11 year old put in his skate park!
1. The ramps and the bowl.
2. A place to borrow boards. Apparently not all families can afford these and you do not necessarily know what you want to spend your pocket money on, so he thought it would be good if people could try out different styles: snake boards, penny boards, traditional skate boards.
3. Cafe. I am assured by the future proprietor that you NEED ice creams and drinks in the summer and my youngest chipped in that you needed hot chocolate drinks in winter.
4. Protection. I am very fussy about my boys wearing wrist protectors and helmets. My son actually requested a Brain Saver for his 11th birthday (if you have a kid who does any outside sport I seriously recommend the brain saver helmet they are even multi-impact.). He said that no one would be allowed in the skate park without these. They should be made available for all kids.
My sons dream had three income streams: board rental, sale of protection, sales in the cafe. Not bad for an 11 year old. He did not want to charge for entry and that seemed sensible to me.
Making the Dream a Little More Real
Then we had to work out who would come to the skate park, after all it does not matter how good the place is if there is no one who visits it. His answer was the wonderfully naive and simple answer: everyone. Those who did not have much money to spend could come and use the park so long as they had their own boards and protection, and those with more money could spend money.
Since I was now on a roll to prove the teacher a complete imbecile I asked a few more questions. What about the people who wanted to spend money but could not afford it? What about the people who needed to work? And the answer to these questioned topped all my expectations. They could all work at the skate park. My jaw would probably have hit the table if I had not been so overwhelmed with his positivity and creativity.
The first part of this had all been a drawing, a plan of his future skate park. Now I took over the pen and paper and we starting writing a list. These were all the jobs he thought would need to be filled.
1. Work in the cafe, the board and the protection rental/sales.
2. Teach people how to skate board.
3. Grow the food to supply the cafe.
4. Design new cool boards for the park to sell. (excuse the multiple use of the word cool, but it is fairly dominant in my sons vocabulary when it comes to talking about skate boards).
In fact he then decided that he needed a market place, then anyone who had things to sell or skills to offer could make them available so they could earn money in order to have money to spend at the skate park.
Understanding the Importance of your Dream
My son had just realised that if he wanted to spend the rest of his life surrounded by his friends and doing what he loves best then he had to make sure that they were all a part of his plans and that they all both made and received from the project.
Children have amazing ideas they understand what an adult cannot get their head around, they see what they can achieve and the obstacles are never to big to over come. Whatever problem you present to their dreams they just find a way either solve it or by-pass it.
Never, ever give up on your dreams, and even more importantly, if you get the opportunity to encourage some one else to dream, do it with all your energies and help them on a road that so many people fail to see.