We are all born artists. Entrepreneurs. Geniuses.
Every single great work of culture began as a blank piece of paper or canvas; just a thought that blew up like the Big Bang (whoa, creationists!), inside the Galaxy of Neurons that occupies your brain. It's fascinating, really: The staggering, overwhelming amount of potential that each and every child is born with. It's damn near unlimited. We have to revise our go-to descriptions when it comes to newborns and babies:
"So hairy, already!!"
"A fucking genius."
We have to. Allowing a child creative and intellectual freedom can no longer be a luxury; an eccentric parenting choice. It has to be downright -illegal- to not allow a child to dream, and fully support and feed that dream. We are all born no less bright than Da Vinci, Henry Ford or Steve Jobs were when they were born. The go-to move is criticizing the deeply broken education system. And, while I agree completely, I believe we have to take a look at ourselves. Education begins at home. Education, I believe, is a two-part program: the school, and our homes. We -have- to do our part. We can point at the school system all we want, but if you refuse to be a part of your child's dream and block their infinite imagination, you're setting him/her up for a drive-less life, forever doomed to be judged and manipulated by a number, a grade. A frustratingly incorrect measure of a child's potential or true intellect..
The 'he/she's too young to know what he/she wants" response is bullshit.
You know exactly what you want the moment it first comes to you, as a child. It's not a phase, or an accident. It is meant to be. Don't be an asshole and mess with future greatness.
My father, as a kid, wished to be a policeman. Circumstances and a life being forced to the "traditional" routes had him working odd jobs, part and full time, and even a stint as a P.E. Teacher at my school (no offense to PE Teachers-- you're cool). All the while, I would hear him lament how he always wanted to be a policeman. At 30-something, after a marriage, two kids and almost a dozen jobs (I'm being colorful, there), he jumped. He went for it and , to this day, I have never heard him regret it or even complain about it. He loves it, and he has had an incredible career. He holds a shining reputation among lower and higher ranking officers alike and has served as security for 2 former governors, countless government officials, Foreign Governments visiting Puerto Rico and, currently, San Juan's newest Mayor, the Hon. Carmen Yulín Cruz. All while making great money, providing to a family and, with his wife, my mother, building a beautiful home.
This all, from following a childhood dream.
Instead of "You're crazy!" or "that's hiLAAArious!", why don't we respond with "That's amazing." "Let me help you" or "You have my support." Instead of purposely ignoring, downplaying it or looking at it with disdain in your heart; Instead of demanding a "special price", the Employee discount, the Family hook up, pay the damn price and support your friend. True support, not conditional or 'at a discount'. It's ridiculous. If you can't be happy for your friend because you don't like that that friend is doing something on his/her own, get the fuck out of this post and out of that person's life and don't let the figurative door hit your ass. And if you're the one being ridiculed or being poisoned by others' negativity, cut them out like the tumors they are. Negativity is a cancer, and should be treated as such. There's plenty of room at the top, because the bottom is full of the nobodies that like to put down the somebodies attempting the climb.
Today, we don't all get to live our dreams, but we shouldn't take out our frustrations on our courageous friend. The odds are already overwhelmingly stacked against him/her as it, let's not make it even harder or more demoralizing. Please. How about letting that person be an inspiration and help for you?
The future of our nation lies in how we, as a people, push and pull each other toward a collective greatness. It's easy to knock someone down, but it's so much more rewarding to help that person move forward. Biggie Smalls said it best: "We can't change the world, unless we change ourselves." We can bitch and moan all we can about all the problems that plague our society. We can point to the school system and complain about how it is overpriced and undercooked. We can talk at length all day, every day, about anything and everything that makes us uncomfortable. In the end, we're just delaying arriving at the real problem: Us. It's never too late to start rehabbing the world. There's examples of places that are pioneering the future of education, trickling down University-level knowledge down to High, Middle and all the way down' to Elementary school. There's a 2-year program in China that takes childrens of ages 7-11 and takes them through a mini-MBA (Master's of Business Administration) program; Yes, it's wealthy families doing this, but it's a clear sign that the current and next generations of children can handle it. (More of that, here: Rich Chinese send children as young as seven on 'mini MBA' courses)
So let's do it. Let's show our children a more fruitful way, let's take their incredible minds and nurture them to the max. Let's teach these kids that it's -okay- to dream. Let's support those dreams. Let's develop their minds and expand their reach. Let's be a part of the inevitable intellectual revolution, so that in the end, if you yourself couldn't build something, by supporting and helping in any way you can, you can still say "I was a part of that." And, if it is your child? Take him or her as far as your own intellect can go, and then push yourself to go further. Learn by teaching. Feel rewarded by giving your child the gift of knowledge. Support it financially as long as your wallet can handle it (we're talking support, but let's retain prudence). Who knows, you might have the next Steve Jobs or Jack Dorsey (or Marissa Mayer, or Randi Zuckerberg), at worst you will have raised a hell of a talent and a hard worker. But the best possible scenario: you will have taken part in developing the first and best [First Name] [Your Last Name] , and He or She will change the world for the better, and the world will have you to thank. Just remember: it's never too late, and it's never too early. Let's Rehab The World.
We are all born fucking geniuses. Let's make sure we grow up that way.
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P.S. Read back that last paragraph, but imagine that that Child, is -you-. You're welcome.