Believing in Dreams

Discussions with two of my 8th Graders yesterday led to this post. One of my students, a wonderful young man I will call Michael, and I were talking at the end of class when the topic of career choices came up. He mentioned to me that he was now discouraged about his choice. It seems an adult he had had a conversation with didn't feel he should want attempt to be a professional hockey player when he gets older. I stated that maybe this adult was concerned he didn't have a "Plan B" to fall back on in case of injury but Michael explained to me that he will go to college regardless of a hockey career. He is an excellent and committed student, I have no doubt he will do just that.

Another student in the same class period surprised me with his creativity and ingenuity: he created a homemade "fidget spinner". He took note of the latest fad to hit Middle School and decided to create one himself. I marveled at the details--a round Styrofoam disc with ball bearings in the center, a hair elastic he got from his sister around the outer edge, and hot glue spokes "so that you can grip it" on both sides. I asked if I could try it and it worked really well!

Last night I started thinking about my students, entering High School in the fall, and thought about their dreams and ideas. Why do adults so often tamp down the dreams of youth? We have an obligation to realistically encourage our young people to soar. Society has only improved because of the tenacity of innovators and those who wouldn't be deterred by nay-sayers. I strive every day to get my students to take risks and think about "what-ifs" in the classroom and I have to support them just as strongly when they dream about areas outside of History. The next Wayne Gretzky, Marie Curie, or Thomas Edison just may be a student in my 6th Hour this year. They, like all of my students, have my full support and encouragement.


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