How to Mentor a Kid with Big (Possibly Unrealistic) Dreams

Published by Lori Pickert on July 29, 2013 at 07:15 AM

From the mailbag, a series of similar questions:

How should I handle my kids’ huge plans that can’t really happen?

Some of my child’s ideas are down-right unrealistic…

My concern is that he will feel let down…

If I try to find the possible in his dreams, I see his disappointment. He doesn’t like my sugggestions for making it “doable”…

Your three-year-old wants to build a rocket that really flies — one that he can sit in.

Your six-year-old wants to build a three-story treehouse with a fireman’s pole.

Your nine-year-old wants to write a novel that will be published by a real publisher — or a screenplay that will be produced by a real movie studio.

How can we help kids tackle their big, ambitious, seemingly unachievable goals?

When you say, “here’s the lesson — do this,” you know from the outset what’s possible. When you instead start with a child’s question and build outward organically, you eventually end up with a big piece of work — a project — the result of authentic inquiry. It’s big, it’s real, and it’s meaningful. That’s not something you can preplan. — Stop Preshrinking Your Opportunities

Why is it important to let kids move forward on their plans, even when they seem totally unrealistic?

I often tell the story of a four-year-old girl at my school who built a very detailed robot out of cardboard and found objects. Her parents and teachers all appreciated the hard work she’d put in, her creativity and her concentration. Then one morning she told her parents she needed to bring batteries to school — because she was ready for her robot to “really work.”

She cut a flap in the back of her robot, pushed two AA batteries inside, taped it shut, and was pleased as punch that now her robot would move and walk.

The adults were all worried that she would be very upset when she discovered her plan had failed. But there was no big meltdown. She was disappointed, but in a frowny, thoughtful, scientific way. She decided she needed to do more research — she needed to investigate the inside of other machines to get a better idea of what made them work. So another line of inquiry began.

Before you move to stop your children from trying to do the impossible, take a breath and remember what your job is: to mentor and support, to brainstorm and listen, to remind and reflect. Your job isn’t to step in and tell them their ideas won’t work and their plans are doomed.

Remind yourself:

You don’t know what your kid can do.

If you guess, you may woefully underestimate. Don’t set limits where limits aren’t necessary. Don’t set limits where they will not only curtail what your child can achieve but may discourage him from getting started in the first place. Big doers need big, complex, far-reaching ambitions. Set the goal small and his motivation will shrink right along with it.

In my experience, adults guessing at what children can accomplish set the bar far too low.

When we move to protect our kids, sometimes we’re actually protecting ourselves — from embarrassment (maybe theirs, maybe our own) or from having to deal with big, messy emotions like frustration and disappointment.

Start ramping your kids up to independence now. Don’t wait until they’re 18 and then drop them off a cliff; let them take steps toward being in charge of their own learning and their own future. Let them have their own ideas. Let them have their big, towering dreams and ambitions. Let them work away at something that seems impossible to you. You don’t know what’s possible. They have all the time in the world to get where they want to go. You don’t know what they can do if they try. Instead of worrying about how long it will take for them to be successful, worry about how long it will take them if they never start.

The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do. — Sarah Ban Breathnach

You don’t know where his project will go.

He may deftly switch directions. He may spend months concentrating on just one part of his overarching goal. He may, along his “unrealistic” path, discover a deep interest that will last the rest of his life.

I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else. — Pablo Picasso

Children grow and mature at an astounding rate. When your nine-year-old says she wants to write a novel and have it published by a real publisher, and you reply, “Well, sweetheart, I love you and I think you’re very talented, but that is highly unlikely to ever happen,” she’s likely to lay down her pages and walk away. You haven’t prevented disappointment — you’ve only brought it from the misty future to the right now, and you also killed all the learning and skill-building that would have happened in the interim.

Your child may work on her novel for a year or more and then decide on her own to put it in a drawer and start another. In the meantime, she’ll be building her skills, reading books about writing, and producing steadily improving prose. She may go on to publish a novel when she is 14 or 15 — all because she started now, because you believed in her and supported her now.

Choose to deliver your bad news — that her dream is statistically unlikely — and what will happen to her ambitions? What will happen to her idea of herself as a writer? Will she wait and start her writing career at 15? At twenty? Never?

You are looking ahead and predicting failure, but you are guessing about the path your child is going to take — and you’re probably plotting out a very linear A —> B path. Meanwhile, your child is most likely going to take a circuitous, rambling path as she explores all the different aspects of her ambitious plan. She’s going to dig deep into one thing, then another. She’ll probably change her plan as she moves along. She’ll take a sudden left; she’ll circle back; she’ll add in a whole new line of inquiry she needs to explore.

You cannot predict the path an authentic, self-motivated learner is going to take. When you guess — and then decide to go ahead and pull the plug because you know it won’t work out — you eliminate all the learning that happens along the way.

Ideas fly in flocks. To hold one idea in mind means to hold a cloud of them. — Kevin Kelly

Real learning takes a long time.

When we nervously move to cut our children off before they waste time on an impossible undertaking that’s sure to lead to disappointment, what we really mean to say to them is: You’re not ready for this yet.

We want them to hold their big ideas, dreams, and plans until their abilities catch up. What we fail to realize is that the only people who acquire those abilities are the ones who are chasing big dreams. The ones who give up stop trying and so they stop learning. They stop working hard. They stop believing in themselves and in what’s possible.

They don’t hear, “You can’t do that yet” — they hear, “You can’t do that.”

We don’t meant to kill the dream; we only mean to postpone it. But succeeding at a big undertaking isn’t like buying a ticket to ride the ferris wheel. You don’t wait until you’re “this high” and then boom, you’re all set. Big doers start chasing big, ambitious dreams long before they’re ready to make their final ascent.

I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it. — Picasso

You don’t know how your child will react to failure.

If you interrupt him while he’s building and say, “That won’t work,” you take away his opportunity to learn from his mistakes, brainstorm alternatives, and feel the rush of self-esteem when he finally solves his own problem.

Likewise, if you try to protect him from getting his dreams crushed, you instead crush his motivation, his ownership, and his self-confidence. Out of fear that he may feel disappointed later on, you take away his opportunity to find his own way, to be resilient, to invent a new plan, to find another way. You eliminate the possibility that he might discover on his impossible journey a very realistic focus for all his ideas and energy.

It’s the experience that teaches — not the outcome. If outcomes truly did the job, then every soccer medal would lead to a place on the Olympic team. You are focusing on the outcome and trying to save your child from emotional trauma, but actually working toward his goals is what’s going to make him strong, resilient, confident, imaginative, and joyful. Let him choose his own goals to work toward — it’s the working that matters.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. — Henry David Thoreau

Self-motivated, meaningful work is never wasted time.

Do you think she’d be better served working on something she could really accomplish?

Is that because she would be acquiring more knowledge and skills? Or is it because you would have something more reasonable to share with family and friends?

Working toward big dreams, kids acquire the same skills as working on “doable” tasks — and more. They are working at their challenge level: the front edge of what they’re capable of doing. They are powered by intense motivation. Every big dreams breaks down into smaller goals which break down even further into achievable tasks.

If you can’t solve a problem, then there is an easier problem you can’t solve: find it. — George Polya

You help them break it down. No matter how big or ambitious a goal is, it always breaks down. When they eventually run into something they can’t do (if it happens), then you ask them, “What can you do?” You model for them how to work on big, ambitious goals — by taking it one step at a time.

Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” — Anne Lamott

How you mentor the big dream

Instead of trying to convert your child’s dream into something “doable,” help her break her big goals down into smaller tasks. Help her find something she can start working on today.

Reflect her ideas and plans back to her. Help her see herself as a learner, maker, and doer.

Honor her work by giving her the space and time she needs. Invest in her deep interests.

Let her maintain ownership — don’t take over. Let her go at her own pace and set her own course.

Always take the approach of “If not X, then what?” Model how to take a break, step back, brainstorm, and look for alternatives.

For older kids and teens, treat their ideas with respect while communicating realistic constraints. Let them find the doable inside their own dream.

Older kids and teens are more likely to nix their own ideas and preshrink their own opportunities. Help nudge them past their own negativity and focus on what’s possible. Don’t put it off until the misty future when they think they’ll have more money, time, and freedom to chase their dreams. Help them understand that the more they learn to work with what’s available now, the more likely they’ll be to eventually become dreamers who do. The more they push things off until it’s easier or there’s more money or someone else chooses to help them, the more likely they’ll be to become dreamers who don’t.

If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it out while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come. — C.S. Lewis

Your goal is to help your child become a person who can articulate ideas, make plans, break down goals into achievable steps, and see things through. How do you do that? By letting him fully immerse himself in his deep interest and his big ideas.

Eventually he will set a big goal, make a plan, figure out what he needs to do to make it work, do the hard work, make mistakes, solve problems, and finish. That’s the goal you’re working toward. Those are the habits and skills that you are building. But the entire journey is one of learning and discovery — not just the big finish. Miss the journey and you miss everything. It’s the doing that will build your child’s thinking, learning, and making muscles. It’s the doing that will form his thinking and learning habits and his character. It’s the doing that matters.

Supporting your child’s big ideas, big plans, and big dreams is how you help him become someone who’s capable of actually achieving them.

46 comments

Comment by amy21 on July 29, 2013 at 08:13 AM

I *love* that Picasso quote about doing that which we cannot do so we can learn how to do it. I need to make some artwork for that.

I know you wrote this with kids in mind, but since it's Monday, I'm applying it all to ME as well. :)

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 29, 2013 at 08:31 AM

please do! :)

Comment by amber.the.artist on July 29, 2013 at 04:20 PM

I agree. Also the quote about starting with an idea. Part of why he's one of my greatest artistic inspirations. We think the same and get different results.

Comment by Lisa C. on July 29, 2013 at 09:49 AM

Great post.

This reminds me of the summer my 5-year-old decided to build a time machine so he could go back in time and try to convince the executives at a particular video game company that they should make more Ultraman games.

I let him build his time machine out of a cardboard box, and braced for the inevitable tears when it didn't work - but the tears never came. Instead, he spent an afternoon pretending he was in Japan, talking to those game execs, and then he hatched a new plan: to make his *own* Ultraman game.

I'll admit that is another task I thought he wasn't up to, but I found Game Maker software online (yoyogames.com), downloaded it, and he and his older brother have now had five years of really creative game authoring under their belt, and have acquired all kinds of photo-editing, music-writing, and story-creating skills in the process.

I'm so glad I ignored my inner skeptic :-)

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 29, 2013 at 10:14 AM

 

I let him build his time machine out of a cardboard box, and braced for the inevitable tears when it didn't work - but the tears never came. Instead, he spent an afternoon pretending he was in Japan, talking to those game execs, and then he hatched a new plan: to make his *own* Ultraman game.

he and his older brother have now had five years of really creative game authoring under their belt, and have acquired all kinds of photo-editing, music-writing, and story-creating skills in the process.

perfection. :)

Comment by Nicole Robb on July 29, 2013 at 09:56 AM

Thank You! I have a big dreamer and this article is just what I needed to hear!

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 29, 2013 at 10:14 AM

excellent! you’re welcome! :)

Comment by dawn on July 29, 2013 at 09:58 AM

we often don't know what our kids' ideas REALLY are. our kids, whatever their ages, are in the process of defining and articulating their ideas. those are skills in and of themselves. what we envision as their goals - based on our interpretation of their words - may be completely off the mark, and so when we halt them in their tracks, assuming we know what they want to do, we are doing the additional disservice of failing to connect with them.

i encounter this a lot with dd10. when we reach the point in a brainstorming or planning discussion where she moans, "you just don't understand!" it is my clear cue to take a step back and agree with her. it is then that i can ask her to help me understand, acknowledging that it is up to the two of us to work on our communication so that i can understand. she hones her descriptions and clarifies her thoughts, i focus on my listening to what she conveys and opening up my mind to the possibilities of her imagination.

another wonderful post, lori. you inspire me when you directly approach what stands in our way of working with our children, requiring us to bring our concerns out in the open and face them, rather than letting them fester away and grow to monstrous proportions in the dark:

"When we move to protect our kids, sometimes we’re actually protecting ourselves — from embarrassment (maybe theirs, maybe our own) or from having to deal with big, messy emotions like frustration and disappointment." yes. this is supposed to be about them, not about me.

once again, you offer a life lesson. thank you.

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 29, 2013 at 10:31 AM

 

what we envision as their goals - based on our interpretation of their words - may be completely off the mark

when we reach the point in a brainstorming or planning discussion where she moans, "you just don't understand!" it is my clear cue to take a step back and agree with her.

you make a lovely point about how learning to work together teaches *both* of us.

a lot of us never had anyone take our dreams seriously and help us make our ideas happen. so we have to work twice as hard to not cut down our own dreams *and* our children’s — and learn how to mentor them so they can get started on the path they want to walk — and mentor ourselves, too.

another wonderful post, lori. you inspire me when you directly approach what stands in our way of working with our children, requiring us to bring our concerns out in the open and face them, rather than letting them fester away and grow to monstrous proportions in the dark.

<3

Comment by Peggy C on July 29, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Yes! Everything you said! This is very hard for me, so keep posting stuff like this to remind me. :-) I see that a lot of my own issues stem from my parents having a bit too conservative or "realistic" attitudes towards what I could do as a child and young adult. I know they did it out of love and to save me from disappointment, but I do feel that they underestimated me and I still underestimate myself because of it. I don't want that for my kids, but it is so easy as a parent to just act like your own parents without even thinking about it.

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 29, 2013 at 10:35 AM

 

This is very hard for me, so keep posting stuff like this to remind me. :-)

will do :)

I see that a lot of my own issues stem from my parents having a bit too conservative or "realistic" attitudes towards what I could do as a child and young adult. I know they did it out of love and to save me from disappointment, but I do feel that they underestimated me and I still underestimate myself because of it.

YES. this!

i quoted a bit from a post i wrote aimed at adults, but here’s the link in case anyone wants to check that out:

http://project-based-homeschooling.com/camp-creek-blog/stop-preshrinking...

Comment by Peggy C on July 29, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Thanks! I'll check it out.

Comment by sandphanie on July 29, 2013 at 02:49 PM

Thank you Lori, what a timely post. We are diving into projects for the first time and my 6 year old announced last night his project idea involving opening a Lego store and selling his designs of Star Wars, Harry Potter, and fish (he's fascinated by deep sea creatures) models complete with instruction booklets. My first instinct was to ask him questions about the logistics of opening a store, e.g. how he would finance such a enterprise, where he plans on finding space for this shop; questions which would have overwhelmed and perhaps would have caused him to give up before even beginning. But instead, we broke down the idea into smaller steps starting with making one starship model. He decided on his own to begin by watching a Star Wars movie until he sees a ship he wants to build, pausing the movie, then trying to build it. It's exciting to see where this will lead. I also see that my initial hesitation had to do entirely with my own fears.

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 29, 2013 at 03:52 PM

 

It's exciting to see where this will lead. I also see that my initial hesitation had to do entirely with my own fears.

wow, that really warms my heart. :)

this is such a fantastic example of this issue — what an incredible goal he’s set for himself. he has to make an original design, figure out how to make instructions people could follow, source the bricks he would need to buy (bricklink!), figure out how much postage costs (and envelopes and other needed supplies), figure out a storefront (etsy?), and so on and so forth. imagine all the people he could talk to or e-mail for help. imagine him testing his design by having friends try to put together his model. it’s mind-blowing.

even if he doesn’t see it through to the end, what a fantastic idea and how much he can learn while he works on it!

please keep me updated. :)

Comment by Tracy on July 29, 2013 at 05:23 PM

Thanks for the post!
My six year old who announced one day that she was writing a play for all the girls in her K class to perform. She spent several days choosing characters, writing the names of her friends on slips of paper (so they could choose their parts in a fair way), drawing costumes, creating posters to announce the play and coming to me with requests to help with invitations and to see what day her aunt would be off work so she could come, etc. etc.
When she asked me for the third time to help with invitations, I responded that she really needed to write the actual play before we sent out invitations....
As soon as I said it, all the magic went out of her plans and she abandoned the project soon afterwards. I wish I had said something better, like "sure I'll help, but let's keep the date blank for now.."
then she could have continued to dream, draw, plan, write, problem solve etc.
Hopefully, I'll know better next time! :)

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 29, 2013 at 05:47 PM

yes. <3

it’s impossible to avoid accidentally doing these things, but so wonderful when we stop and realize it and decide to do differently next time. :)

Comment by charmaine on July 29, 2013 at 05:29 PM

Jeez, Lori, how do you know exactly what to write exactly when I need it???

And like Amy, I'm totally applying this to me as well as my kids! :)

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 29, 2013 at 05:50 PM

 

magic… ;o)

actually, one of the PBHers asked me to write this post because it’s something i talk about in the forum over & over again and she wanted to have something to link to while she’s putting a project group together! :)

so send post ideas to me anytime, people! i follow through!

and charmaine, YES, this totally works for adults, too, along with the pbh for grown-ups post about not preshrinking our opportunities. <3 we have to mentor ourselves the way most of us weren’t mentored when we were kids!

Comment by EllieCM on July 29, 2013 at 06:36 PM

Wow! Exactly what I needed to hear and to get some guidance on.

Our eldest son has announced a big dream/goal that I cannot see as possible for him, but I didn't want to knock him down in flames. I was unsure of how to support him, and now you have given me understanding/knowledge of how to.

Thank you.

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 29, 2013 at 09:23 PM

 

thank you, ellie. :)

join the pbh forum if you need or want more support as you work your way through his project!

Comment by amanda on July 29, 2013 at 08:24 PM

"You cannot predict the path an authentic, self-motivated learner is going to take." -- This. Just this. I wish someone had told my mother this way back when -- maybe I would've been encouraged rather than feared + stifled.

Putting this on my fridge as a reminder to do better by my littles.

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 29, 2013 at 09:22 PM

<3

Comment by Tara on July 30, 2013 at 07:42 AM

For a year now, my 9yr old, has been planning to open her own business. When she asked me if she could, at the age of 8, I just stepped up and supported her. She is now writing up a business plan, has her own label, logo & designs, etc. I will help her go as far as she can until we run into an obstacle that perhaps may put this off a few years. ;) However, what is helping her a lot is having her own blog & journal for it all. It keeps her spirits up & plans flowing for her everyday. Her 5yr old little sister, is right behind her with her own big ideas also.
This is a great blog & we really enjoyed it. Thanks!
Peace & blessings,
Mommy - blessed with 2 brilliant & free-spirited little girls. :)

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 30, 2013 at 08:11 AM

thank you so much, tara, and how wonderful for your daughter that you are supporting her in her big plans. :)

Comment by kirstenf on July 30, 2013 at 07:45 AM

Lori, this could have been written just for me, as I encounter this EVERY DAY! It is my absolute aim never to say "I just don't think that will work" and I try really hard not to say it. But I often just don't know what to say instead. I am definitely guilty of trying to find the 'doable' in his idea, and that just annoys him. But when he wants to build a full-size stable in the garden for the horse he's planning to have when he's older, it's tricky!

Thanks for the guidance, Lori. I shall read this often!

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 30, 2013 at 08:15 AM

 

thank you, kirsten! :)

i do think it’s a learned skill to break down a huge, ambitious goal into smaller chunks until you find the thing you can start working on today. you think — full-size stable, eesh. ;o) but then when you do break it down, you can really support that work: sketchbook & grown-up pens and pencils for designing, trips to photograph other people’s stables for ideas, trips to lumber store to calculate costs, building models in balsa — learning about scale measurements!, and so on and so on.

projects like these — *especially* the big, ambitious ones — provide so much learning in a context of such deep engagement. they are too good to pass over!

keep me updated on the stable. ;o)

Comment by kirstenf on July 30, 2013 at 11:15 AM

That all sounds brilliant, Lori. And such fun! I'm actually really looking forward to the next time he asks to do something big! (Probably tomorrow...) But do you mean that we support him to do all these smaller chunks of the project, on the assumption that at one point it'll take him in another direction, or he'll just figure out he can't have a stable in his garden and so decides to go for something else? What if he goes the whole way and is still convinced he can do it?

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 30, 2013 at 12:53 PM

 

What if he goes the whole way and is still convinced he can do it?

i think the key is to let the *natural* impediments crop up in an organic way.

so let’s say he gets to the point where he realizes it’s going to cost 2,000 pounds to build his stable. and you don’t have 2,000 pounds. and he doesn’t have 2,000 pounds. what then?

he can either come up with an alternate plan or he can decide he’ll have to earn the money. how will he earn the money? will he do odd jobs? will he open an etsy store? will he save his birthday and holiday money? does he need a bank account?

at every impediment he will have to decide to either change his plan or figure out how to move forward.

i would say if he gets all the way there then dang it, let him build a stable. :)

Comment by kirstenf on July 30, 2013 at 04:33 PM

You're so clever, Lori. Right, I'm in. I'll send you photos of the stable... ;-)

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 30, 2013 at 09:24 PM

excellent. i’m saving a spot. :)

Comment by Jennifer on July 30, 2013 at 01:18 PM

"You haven’t prevented disappointment — you’ve only brought it from the misty future to the right now"

THIS. This is the real key for me. If I squash it, I haven't saved anything, only lost something.

At the moment she wants to dig up dinosaurs, but she's been quite happy with what we could actually do: finding fossils on a local beach (and a few in the garden!). She takes out her little fossil collection and "teaches" me about them.

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 30, 2013 at 02:27 PM

 

If I squash it, I haven't saved anything, only lost something.

yes. :)

She takes out her little fossil collection and "teaches" me about them.

<3

Comment by Katie G. on August 7, 2013 at 01:38 PM

Lori,
I just finished reading your book and happened to click on your blog today. This post is SO incredibly helpful and encouraging. My dd8 is such a dreamer and I really struggle with just how to come alongside her. I'd really like our homeschooling to take more of a project-based approach but I'm a little nervous about what it's going to require of me. I'm already a mama who feels rather maxed out. Here is my question though--how should we go about setting financial limits on projects? My dd would have me treking out to Lowes and spending hundreds all the time. How do we support and provide supplies but also have them figure out how to use what we already have? Many times my daughter's ideas are really projects for mom or dad to do for her because they are so big. Then I end up feeling guilty when I have to say that I don't have time to sew such and such or want to spend the money for 20 yards of leather-like material, etc.. I hope this makes sense. I'm not much of a blog commenter:) THANK YOU for your expertise!

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 7, 2013 at 04:03 PM

 

hi katie, and thank you! :) so glad you found this & it was relevant to you.

how should we go about setting financial limits on projects?

why not give her a budget? give her a notebook and a calculator, explain how sales tax works, then let her work up a plan and a list of materials. she can either scale her plans to her existing budget or find a way to earn more money so she can scale them back up again.

we’ve had several discussions like this in the forum; you should join (it’s free!) and then take a look at these threads:

http://project-based-homeschooling.com/forums/general-discussion/topic/f...

http://project-based-homeschooling.com/forums/projects/topic/first-proje...

Many times my daughter's ideas are really projects for mom or dad to do for her because they are so big. Then I end up feeling guilty when I have to say that I don't have time to sew such and such or want to spend the money for 20 yards of leather-like material, etc.

this is, interestingly enough, something else we’ve been recently discussing.

in a nutshell, her work is her work — not work for you to do. you have your own work, hobbies, interests, etc. you can help her figure out how to do it on her own and if she says she wants you to do it, you can simply gently decline and bounce it back to her — “if you want to do this, i will help you but i have my own things i want to work on.” if she says she can’t do it, then you can brainstorm with her to help her figure out what she *can* do — or how you can find a class or a mentor or a book/website/other resource so she can learn/teach herself the skills she needs.

join the forum and we can discuss this in more detail! :)

Comment by Amy on August 9, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Thank you!!!!!

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 9, 2013 at 12:39 PM

you’re welcome! :)

Comment by Jodi Jansen on August 9, 2013 at 03:19 PM

Thanks for this!! I found great encouragement while reading. I am homeschooling my children already in an organic, project-based manner, but I get nervous from time to time that I'm not "doing it right" and I can always use encouragement to keep going. Also... I hated to admit it, even to myself, but I have shot down far too many of my childrens' big dreams for the sake of "doability". But I will make the effort to say YES to more (my husband and I have already been trying this in the little things) instead of No, Not right now, or That's not possible... I know that we don't need to teach our children to be excited for learning or "make learning fun". Rather, we need to stop tripping them on their own paths to genius. Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, (or, "according to his way") even when he is old, he will not depart from it." Notice it does not say, "in the way YOU THINK he should go"... Good reminder. :)

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 9, 2013 at 04:04 PM

thank you, jodi! :)

Comment by Erin @ Wild Whispers on August 11, 2013 at 07:45 PM

Thank you. I can't tell you how timely this is in my homeschooling/life journey. I have a teen who dreams big but works small. It's a CONSTANT battle to help her achieve what she's working towards. I needed these reminders... Blessings, Erin

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 11, 2013 at 07:47 PM

thank you so much, erin. hope things go well for you and your big dreamer. :)

Comment by Heather Walker on August 24, 2013 at 08:46 AM

Thank you for the article.

I do have a question though. What if it's your 9 year old who wants to build a real life sized rocket? He knows that he needs fuel and is intensely frustrated that I won't let him use gasoline (or rocket fuel). If I was comfortable with metal working, engines, and fuels, I wouldn't have a problem. We don't know anyone who can mentor this skill level. :-( I can't just say, "The gasoline is in the shed and the matches are up here. Good luck."

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 24, 2013 at 10:24 AM

 

has he built model rockets?

has he designed a real life-sized rocket? doesn’t fuel come way at the end of the process?

has he read books about rockets, sketched designs, etc.?

has he looked to see what resources there are online and in your library for learning more about this? has he looked to see what resources your community *does* have? (model plane club, model rocket club, air shows, local air force base tours, etc.)

the key is to sit down and help him start figuring out what he can do with his interest. take it seriously and help him get started. help him break it down into skills. you may find that your local park district has a metal-working class. you may find a local hobby shop that does a special in-house model-rocket-building class.

all along the way, he is going to be discovering and learning and refocusing his interest. if you can get him started, he may take a very long time at any of these stages — and he may eventually divert his energy into something else.

but first you have to get started!

 

coming back to add: be sure to check this out:

An Astronaut’s Advice - http://zenpencils.com/comic/106-chris-hadfield-an-astronauts-advice/

 

Comment by Crunchy Domesti... on August 25, 2013 at 01:07 AM

Thank you for this post. I loved it so much, I blogged about it. :)

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 25, 2013 at 08:00 AM

you did! thank you so much! :)

Comment by Ronald on August 31, 2013 at 04:21 AM

Great post.

We should use this kind of thinking more in regular schools.
Now the children are taught to behave as sheep in large groups and after so many years of sitting still and doing tests, all of their initiative is gone.

Comment by Nazreen on December 22, 2013 at 12:34 PM

I don't have kids yet, probably won't anytime soon either, but what you said resonates so much with what I believe in. I would definitely need to revisit this page again in the future. Thank you for writing this!

Post new comment