TOPIC 31: HOPE DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR LOST DREAMS OF CHILDHOOD? As a ten-year old, I planned to be a lady jockey. Elizabeth Taylor had just made her first mark in National Velvet. I had a problem, I was already tall and growing taller every day. I tried for several weeks to stop growing by putting a huge Dictionary on my head every night for ten minutes before going to sleep. Didn’t work. Got tired of that and gave up that dream, but kept my love of horses and learned to ride.
One of my sons from the time he was five or six planned to be a star first baseman for New York Mets. Keith Hernandez was his hero. When creating a safe place at the age of seven, he chose the pitcher’s mound at the Met’s Stadium. “Take me out the ball game” was playing on the loud-speaker; it was a night game, stars were shining, the smell of peanuts filled the air, and the field was empty because the Mets had won.
Big problem, he had absolutely no talent for baseball. He was the kid always on the bench or relegated to the out field where balls were seldom hit. We tried to steer him to other sports, his father coached soccer for a while, he was on the swim team at the local Y and even won a few ribbons. He won a state medal for his age group in karate. He liked all sports. Nevertheless, he insisted he was going to be the next Keith Hernandez until he was about eleven.
First, he said to me, he knew it would be hard, but he just had to keep practicing.
The next year, he announced, “There are only 617 professional ball players, I’m not going to be one. Why did you push me all those years?”
Blood trickled down my throat as I clamped down on my tongue. Still proud that I managed to keep from screaming, “We did our best not to push you.”
Mind you, having given up baseball, he was demanding to play football. He was more than skinny, you could always pick him out at games as he had tooth picks for legs. I was trying to hold out giving permission, but lost that one. And suspect in his heart, he thinks we pushed him there.
Understand, we were not and have never been pushy parents in terms of sport. We think sports are for fun and health, entertainment and good family times.
Right was on my side, but I also knew it was my job, having kept the kid alive until then, to become his punching bag for all went wrong for the a few years. Keeps the pain down a bit. Blame your parents and you don’t have to blame yourself. It is the American way and well seasoned by the media and the parenting gurus. One can only hope that as the darlings move into adulthood, they will stop blaming. Far too many do not.
My very favorite shrink, Theodore Reik, said something that adulthood is obtained when a person forgives their parents and hopes their parents forgive them. I couldn’t find the exact quote, but am glad to report that both my sons are adults, so is my Cranky Old Man, and so am I. We all forgive and hope for forgiveness. We have to, we are too cranky to do otherwise.
Reik also said, “Love is an attempt to change a piece of a dream world into reality.” If you hopes are not fulfilled, may you find safe landing in hearts of those who love you. Life is a struggle and no matter what the “Just Do It” Guru’s say, we can’t hope our way into all we want. So we all have to survive lost hopes.
STAYING STRONG TIP: We need our hopes, particularly those that pull us through the struggles of childhood. Whenever a major hope dies, we need love to see us through the pain. For children struggling with lost dreams, love is what matters. For adults struggling with a lost dream, love also matters. For adults something else matters. That is being a kind and loving person; and that is something all can make a reality.
FUEL MY HOPES: Be kind to me, get kindness badges for you, and help others get and stay strong. Kindness is an Emotional Fitness Exercise. Click here for all 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Training Exercises.
IMAGE BY: David Levine