Friends of mine have a son who decided he was going to join the army with his best mate when he grows up. At first it seemed to be the standard sort of fascination that you see in kids - I’m going to be a fireman, a doctor; I’m going to rescue sick animals and be a vet; I’m going to be whatever the hero of the moment is!
But a year on the boy wasn’t showing any sign of losing interest.
My friends knew that because their son is deaf he would never be able to enlist or serve in the army and it started to feel very uncomfortable joining in conversations with the boy about what he might do one day knowing very well that this particular dream would always remain just that – a dream.
So, the boy’s dad had the tough conversation. Afterwards he said, “I crushed my own son’s dream. We had a cry and a hug.”
Later the same day the boy called his dad over to the kitchen table. He showed his dad a pile of drawings and said, “If I can’t be in the army, then I’ll design the best tanks for the army”.
My friend said, ‘” there was no sadness and no self-pity in my boy’s words just a great depth of character”.
As I thought about this story it occurred to me that the shape and depth of the young boy’s character was a reflection of very wise parenting. It’s easy to let ourselves be seduced by the “you can be anything you want; do whatever you want” mantra - but it’s just not true!
Don’t get me wrong – I think we should dream and strive and dare but I for one will never be a prima ballerina or a deep sea diver!
What I dream and strive and dare to be is the best I can be, as a person with specific aptitudes and experiences and capacities made in the image of a loving, creative, generous and just God. And that’s what my friends are teaching their son – to stand up to his full height as a unique human being made beautifully in the image of God.
What about you? Are you dreaming, striving and daring to take your unique place as a person made in the image of God?