Hi! I moved to a new place. I would love for you to visit me there.

Stop Stealing Dreams. The Takeaways from Seth Godin’s New Book.

I’ve been reading Seth Godin’s new book – Stop Stealing Dreams. You need to read it too. It is free.

It’s funny how recently things show up in my life as soon as I think/talk about them. I’ve been thinking a lot about the way we raise our kids and our education system in particular. I’ve been talking to Keith about it. And then I download this ebook and all the thoughts/questions I had – they are all there. Thank you. We needed this book.

In this book Seth asks a question – “What’s school for?”.  But it’s not just about school. It’s about the way we raise our kids as society.  It’s about the way we were raised. And what we have as a result. Millions and millions of people who are afraid to dream.

There are lots of things that I would love to write about, talk about, think about. There are lots of things I’d like to change, reconsider in my parenting. There are lots of things I will think about from now on when I choose a school for my kids and when I talk to their teachers.

I can’t cover all of that in this post. I still have lots of work to do.  I do want to talk about some changes I am making in our household. right now. I do want to start this conversation. With myself. And you. I do want to do something today. Change something today. Because it’s time.

“I think we’re doing a great job of destroying dreams at the very same time the dreams we do hold onto aren’t nearly bold enough.”Stop Stealing Dreams

Are you dreaming bold dreams?

If not, why? Because someone (most likely your teacher and/or you parents) sometime ago told you that it was ok. In fact, they told you and showed you that that was the way to go.

And you believed. And now you don’t want to believe it anymore, but you can’t not to. No, actually… of course, you can! But it requires some serious internal work and will power and motivation.

Something so natural, something that you were born to do –  dreaming and passion – became hard. Because you were encouraged to conform. Because you were told that obedience, mediocrity and fitting in is what’s expected and rewarded. Being different? Being unique? Not so much.

I don’t want to teach that anymore. I want to do what is hard for me now so that it is easy for my kids when they grow up.

“Greatness is frightening. With it comes responsibility.

If you can deny your talents, if you can conceal them from others or, even better, persuade yourself that they weren’t even given to you, you’re off the hook.

And being off the hook is a key element of the industrialized school’s promise.

It lets parents off the hook, certainly, since the institution takes over the teaching.

It lets teachers off the hook, since the curriculum is preordained and the results are tested. And it lets students off the hook, because the road is clearly marked and the map is handed to everyone.

If you stay on the path, do your college applications through the guidance office and your job hunting at the placement office, the future is not your fault.”Stop Stealing Dreams.

We are not taught responsibility. We are not taught choices. Go to school, get good grades, make sure to finish your work before the bell rings.

Hobbies? Passion? Have something you really enjoy and would like to learn more about? Well, those are extracurricular stuff. Do it after you are finished with what matters.

And that’s how we learn that passion doesn’t matter that much.

That’s how we learn that getting a job to make money is more important than pursuing your passion, dreaming bold dreams. That’s how we learn that passion can’t make you money. Because it’s extracurricular. It is not that important. It’s not serious. It surely can’t be something that will support you and your family. Unless you are a lucky, special one. And most likely you are not, so let’s stick to the plan.

And here is the last quote I am going to share and the change I am making in our household right now.

“People around the world eat what they eat because of community standards and the way culture is inculcated into what they do. Expectations matter a great deal.

When you have no real choice but to grow up doing something or eating something or singing something, then you do it.

If culture is sufficient to establish what we eat and how we speak and ten thousand other societal norms, why isn’t it able to teach us goal setting and passion and curiosity and the ability to persuade?

It can.”- Stop Stealing Dreams.

It really can.

Is it expected in your family that everyone pursues their passions? Do you expect your kids to explore their interests and curiosities and find what they love? Do you expect them to dream big, bold dreams? Do you expect them to do whatever it takes to live their passion when they grow up? Do you expect them to not give up until they figure out how to do it?

I do now. I expect it. Period.

But here is the hardest part.

I can’t expect it unless I live it myself. I can’t teach them anything just by talking about it. I wish!

I have to be that myself if I want them to learn.

So we are setting new expectations for everyone in our family.

And here are some little details I was thinking to add to our daily routine:

We are going to ask during dinner every day – “What did you do today for your passion?” And everyone will share.

We will ask the “What are you passionate about? What are you curious about? What are you inspired to do?” questions more often.

We will encourage mistakes, cheer failures and trying, talk about dreams and how we can make them bigger and bolder.

There are lots of other things I was thinking to do to teach my kids the importance of passion. But those are details. They can be figured out as long as parents are truly expecting living with passion from themselves first of all and then the kids.

If I can teach them to eat healthy, I can teach them to follow their dreams. All it takes is willingness to set the example.

Are you willing to set that example for your kids? Are you willing to raise the bar for yourself so that they can learn ?

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Noel May 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I have had some of dreams sheteartd like a window-pane, broken by a storm with each tiny piece of it lying alone and scattered! Any idea how I can pick up these tiny pieces and mould my dreams back. Still passionate about them(cos I am a go-getter)but I have really not been driven by that to make my dreams come true. Friends, I need your advise!


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