Monday, September 1, 2014

Encouraging the Dreamers

This week, our son Easton, who is 12, was able to live out one of his biggest dreams. Now, some of you may wonder what a 12 year old dreams about and while I know that most of the time, it's about epic battles and floating trampolines from which to propel yourself through the neighbourhood...this one was a big one for Easton.  As with a lot of young boys, Easton loved all things superheroes from a very young age and dreamed of meeting some of his heroes in person. I'm not talking about Universal theme park type dreams...I'm talking the dream of all comic book nerds *ahem* (I say that with the most love and respect)...ComicCon. The fact that I just had to spellcheck that shows the level of involvement I have with this event in my son's life.

As his mother though, I am, however, a big supporter of helping kids set goals and dreams and then chase after them, whatever they may be.  Which is why for the past few weeks (months), I have been listening intently with one ear while Easton chattered about the intricacies of the costume he needed and the supplies and the execution of said costume, which apparently could not be bought online but must be hand crafted by his mother. And then it was two ears open and a mouth full of protest at my lack of skills, but to no avail. Somewhere in the fine print between stretch marks and car pools, was a clause that said I had to design and execute a costume of some unknown-to-me character named Starlord. Thankfully, Marvel had the good sense to release a movie called Guardians of the Galaxy that I was invited (demanded) to attend the weekend I returned home from Zambia in August. And so, Starlord became a part of the running narrative in our household, even as I processed the fact that I had just been in communities where children dream only of food and schoolbooks and football with friends.

This is the science fiction I live with. A parallel universe. One of our North American life and dreams that contrasts so starkly, those of our friends and family in Zambia. And yet, I have come to understand over the years of our involvement in Zambia, that it is okay to teach our kids to dream and to help them attain them. For once a child attains a dream, they will go on to dream bigger and better ones. And so, ComicCon.  Apart from the expense of a couple flights and meals out, what does it cost to let your child dream dreams? Nothing. What does it cost to squash them? Everything. And while we can't finance or grab dreams out of the sky for our kids, when we can, we should. And the extra time and energy on paper routes and recycling cans and mowing lawns...all the things he spent his summer doing to get to this place? Well, from the look on his face in these pics? Totally worth it. 

What began as Value Village boots, leather coat and shin pads became an epic Starlord

Easton and friends from Guardians of the Galaxy.

With his Deadpool tshirt attracts this kind of attention!

I tweeted about this encounter and ended up with 901 retweets/ which Easton had to make a difficult choice between meeting Stan Lee or meeting Nathan Fillion. A "Sophie's Choice" for ComicCon fans.
Logic prevailed. 
 In the end, what ended up being the realization of a dream for my son, really ended up being a dream I hadn't really articulated for myself or for him. I want my kids to be dreamers. I want them to believe that they can make things happen and to realize that their dreams reveal their passions. And I'm all about following your passions. There's the bottom line of what it costs to let your kids dream. Some day you have to release them to follow those dreams, wherever it leads them. I'm watching my youngest figure it out and enjoy where it's been taking him. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the last quiet hours before he returns home with all the stories that achieving this dream has bestowed upon him.

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