“Children’s dream and parents’ faith” is one of my favourite chapters in the book, “Learning from the heart” by Daniel Gottlieb.
This is the poem quoted at the beginning of the chapter:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
— Kahlil Gibran, from the Prophet
All young people have dreams, yet those dreams may not consistent with their families’ wishes and expectations. Some are lucky to be allowed to follow their own path, while some may live under the shadows of their families. It is not difficult to imagine the anxiety and insecurity the families are having when their children choose to craft a ‘different’ life.
I once had a dream of being an artist as I love drawing, painting and making art crafts. My love for art doesn’t last long. I devoted most of my time studying for tests and public exams in my Secondary school life. Then later, I dreamed of being a physcial therapist /nurse because I am interested in Science and I love taking care of people. However, it turned out that my AL result wasn’t good enough. I was literally devastated knowing I was only able to study in HKIEd. What would become of me ? I asked myself. I could only become a teacher who was graduated in HKIEd — which is NOT even a university (No offence, but I really felt bad at that time) !!!!!! Every effort I had put in my study became futile. Choking on tears, I thought I wouldn’t be happy ever since.
You may know the rest of the story… I was doing well in HKIEd (It is still not a univeristy now, but I had met loads of inspiring teachers and great schoolmates there), enjoyed being a teacher (I simply love teaching and being with my kids) and finally graduated in a MA prog in CU (A real university in my mind XD). Most importantly, I am happy and contented.
So who can help us make decisions about our future?
The author mentioned another book Stumbling on Happiness, discusses the way people make decisions about their future. Reseaches have shown that those decisions are usually based on what people believe will make them happy, but he has found that we’re not very good at such predictions.
That’s exactly what happend to me. We tended to make predictions based on our own past experience or what we have been told about the future by others. “That really doesn’t give us much evidence about the future of ourselves, let alone our children.”
As parents or teachers, we think we know what is right for our children. We may be wrong. Even our children think what is right for them, and they may be wrong too! Only by working things out on their own, they will figure out their own answers. What’s suitable for them and what’s not. I shall never know whether being a teacher is suitable for me unless I try to be one.
At the end of the chapter, Daniel Gottlieb quoted the rest of the poem:
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.