From August 2016: I’m having a moment, being a list-buddy with my kid: (I’m in Galactic and he’s in BTS:Galaxy’s Edge)
Brene Brown’s book (Gifts of Imperfection) talks a lot about the repercussions of living a life of authenticity – the risk and the rewards – but I think the thing we fear most is the impact on our children. I worried about this early on – it’s one thing to take risks yourself, an entirely different thing when your kid decides he wants to follow his dream (instead of becoming that solid-earning accountant you want because that will secure his financial future. You think.). But the thing is – if you really believe in going after your dreams (and I do), then you have to believe it DOUBLE for your kids. Because they have so much more to gain by starting early.
You can look at this chart and say “well, of course Sue’s kid is able to rank well on release because he’s Sue’s kid” and to some extent that’s true. He has access to my knowledge and experience. But he’s also the one who gets up before school to work on his novels. He’s the one who dreams big and works hard to make it happen. Anyone who finishes a novel while in 6th grade has an uncommon amount of ambition and work ethic – more than me, at that same age!
It doesn’t seem like a risk to let a kid like that run with his ambition, but when you know he could make a solid living going the traditional path with an engineering-only life, it would be easy to squash those novel-writing dreams in the crib. Fortunately, by the time Adam needed a parent who understood him, I already knew better. I was already speaking openly about wishing I had continued with my writing *while* I pursued engineering.
And he was listening.
So I look at this chart and I think, “he’s doing what you wished you could have done.” And while you want your kids to live out their *own* dreams (and I have no doubt he will), it’s a bit tear-jerking when he’s also living out yours.
UPDATE: August 2017: He’s headed off to engineering college in a week and just finished the third novel in his series. And he still lets me edit them! I’m a very lucky mom.