Every child has dreams

#SOL16 Day 24Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 5.11.16 PM

One day a week I work in a functional skills (special education) classroom with 3rd through 6th graders during their writing block.  It’s one of my very favorite classes.  Today three of the students were working on an essay for a scholarship from a local credit union.  Every year all 5th and 6th graders enter this scholarship contest and write essays that share their aspirations, these students wanted to join in.

Tasya* was sharing her essay with me as Corey* listened in.  “When I grow up I want to be a midwife and go to college to be a midwife and I will get hired.  My boss will pay me money so I can take care of my family.”

Kevin asked, “What’s a midwife?”

Tasya answered, “I don’t really know what all they do.  I know they give baby check ups and they wrap up the babies.”

Corey looked a little confused so I added. “They help a mother when it is time to have a baby. They help the baby to be born.”

“So Tasya can help my girlfriend’s baby be born?”  Now Corey is 12, so I replied, “Not for a long, long time.”

Corey responds,”Yeah, my dad said he wants me to have a girlfriend when I’m 18.  Can you have a baby when you’re 18?”

Tasya answers, “No.  You have to be in your 20’s, like maybe 25 or something. My mom says you can’t get married til you are in your 20’s.”

I could see this conversation was not moving in a direction we had time to explore, and wasn’t helping them to their focus on the essays, so I try to circle back.  “Corey, what is your essay about?”

“I’m gonna be a pilot. I’m gonna get a lesson to fly a plane and get my license.”

“That’s gonna be a good one. I like that one.” Tasya encourages him.

I see Ariana* sitting at the end of the table. “How about you, Ariana? What do you want to do when you grow up?”

She taps on her paper.  “I’m gonna be a crime investigator and solves all those crimes. My mom lets me watch that show where they solve those crimes. I can do that.”

Corey has a look on his face that screams, “Whoa!”

“That’s gonna be a good one. I like that one, too.” Tasya offers again.

As I listen to them sharing their hopes and dreams for their futures, I am struck with the realization that those dreams won’t come easy (if at all) to these beautiful children. The opportunities in life that  we frequently take for granted are sometimes out of reach for others.  For now, I help them celebrate  and work toward their dreams, and hope that throughout their life they will find encouragement if their aspirations become altered.

My own daughter will be off to college next year, and I’ve never had a doubt that whatever she dreamed, she could become.  It hits me hard knowing that not all parents have that same experience.  All children have dreams, but not all will be realized the way we might hope for them.

It is my wish that they keep dreaming, and recognize there is never just one dream. I will keep working, encouraging, and guiding these students to be the best whatever they want to be.


To dream … the impossible dream …
To fight … the unbeatable foe …
To bear … with unbearable sorrow …
To run … where the brave dare not go …

To right … the unrightable wrong …
To love … pure and chaste from afar …
To try … when your arms are too weary …
To reach … the unreachable star …

This is my quest, to follow that star …
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far …

From Man of LaMancha
Lyrics by Joe Darion

 

*pseudonyms

 

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3 thoughts on “Every child has dreams

  1. Paula, you have a wonderful ability to tell a interesting tale that ends with something to thing about. You’re point is well-taken. Like you, I never worried that my five children would not be able to fulfill their dreams. We take so much for granted. Hopefully, this youngsters will find a their special niche in the world.

  2. “All children have dreams, but not all will be realized the way we might hope for them.” True, but the saddest thing, for me, is that this is a bitter lesson these children will learn…that, through no fault of their own, their lives have been limited by the society in which they live.

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