Aayansh loves coconuts. He always has. Since we landed in Antigua, he's been wanting to pick his own coconut from a tree. His physicality of 3.5 feet doesn't limit him in his mind.
The intensity of his belief made me consider my response. Instead of grounding him to practical reality like we often do as parents, I decided to play along with his curiosity. I asked him questions about how he might get to have his dream.
I was amazed at his imagination and the emergence of possible solutions.
Solution 1: He thought he just needed some throwing practice. So he practiced aiming empty coconut shells at smaller trees, before aiming for the tall one. After about 15 minutes of serious practice, he figured throwing wasn't going to work.
Solution 2: Learning how to climb. While he was working through his dream, we settled for quenching our thirst at a local shack.
He asked the guy, ‘Junior’, if he had picked the coconuts, from a tree! He found out that his dad Como picks them in the mornings. He asked if Como would show him how to climb.
Como got called out of his cot. He made a date with Aayansh late afternoon of the following day. You can count on it that we showed up at the designated spot and time. J We watched in amazement as Como climbed up a 70-foot tree and got us a coconut each.
Solution 3: Looking out for a short tree he could reach. So now, he started looking out for short coconut trees on our drives. He had to learn to find short trees that weren't in someone's yard and had coconuts that looked ripe.
It became our favorite activity and we all were scouting for a tree that fit the bill. We found one outside Mt. Obama peak. He climbed up on my shoulders and tugged and twisted but couldn't get it. :O Perhaps it wasn’t ripe enough or we needed a special tool?
In the not living of this dream (yet), he (and we all) had some rich experiences and made some native friends. Aayansh shares a special connection with Junior and Como at the shack.
By not limiting Aayansh, we hope to have nurtured his belief that he can do what he wants. That he doesn’t have to limit himself by the reality of the moment. We hope that he got to explore his dream and learn more about it than he could have had I clipped his wings with my adult mindset.
Our children’s dreams are often larger than their physical abilities and realities. In contrast to children, most of us adults limit ourselves in our mind, don’t we? We limit ourselves in the mind even more than our physical abilities allow it.
Where does it come from? This limitation mindset? Our Parents? Teachers? Culture?
I’ve definitely had my moments of nurturing the limitation mindset as a protective parent. Are we being too protective? What is the trade-off for being practical? Are we clipping our children’s wings a bit too early?
What are ways that we clip our own wings every single day? Can we give ourselves the benefit of exploring our dreams in our minds so that perhaps we might explore the journey of having them in reality? And not be defeated before even starting?
What questions does this raise about the kind of children we want for the future? What will serve them long after we’re gone? Will they benefit from asking questions that haven’t been asked, pursuing dreams that haven’t been dreamed up yet?
These are definitely questions that I don’t pretend to know the answers to. I definitely find them worth introspecting and I hope you do too.