Mom, I Want to be a NASA Astronaut

By Susan Ford Collins

I was speaking about the power of children's dreams, and the even more awesome power adults have to make or break them, when a woman in the audience raised her hand. "Susan, I've got the perfect story for you to share."

"When our daughter turned five, she told us that she was going to be a NASA astronaut when she grew up. She would sit mesmerized in front of our TV during every space shot. And while her father and I were sipping our soup at dinner one night, we realized simultaneously that she actually saw herself as a member of the crew.

Suddenly we moved beyond the glaze of day-to-day living long enough to realize that we were at a crucial decision-point: Was this a passing fancy or her mission? We could continue silently pooh-poohing her dream as something a boy could do but not a girl—a feeling we both knew was definitely there inside us. Or, we could line up with her.

We decided to line up with her. So when she asked us what she needed to do to become an astronaut, we took her seriously and found out. When she needed help completing elaborate science projects, we made time to support her. When she wanted to go to science camps instead the camps her girl friends attended, we remembered her dream and continued to nurture it."

"And you'll be happy to know that our daughter is a NASA astronaut. She was aboard the last shot. And as the roar of the rockets blurred our words that morning at Cape Kennedy, my husband and I shouted agreement that we had made the right choice."

Our children's dreams are the seeds of the future, precious future solutions to the problems we face today and tomorrow. As we build our children's self-confidence, the second most important thing we can do is to nurture their dreams—agreeing with their possibilities, arguing for their success... not their failure, and appreciating their greatness in advance.

(c) Susan Ford Collins, 2016. All rights reserved.

* For more on Success Skills 3 and 4, Dreaming and Co-dreaming, read The Joy of Success or Our Children Are Watching.

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