Sunday, March 07, 2010


Last night I had a conversation with a man I had just met. I told him about our son's lead role in his high school play and how he is thinking of pursuing acting after high school. (I promise it was in context with our conversation and I was not being one of those moms who brag. Really. I promise.) I told the man that I know that there is no better time to chase after his dreams than during that period in his life when he is out of high school and not committed to a family. He told me that I was smart to see things that way and give my child a chance to pursue his dreams without trying to project my plans on him.

Then today I had a conversation with a family member after my son's performance. "So what is he interested in?" she asked.

"This," I said, gesturing at the theater and actors around us.

"No," she said. "I mean, after this."

I laughed. "This."

"Well then, how are you going to direct him to do something more reliable than this?" she asked.

I gave her some answer just to hush her up. But later I thought about these two conversations-- how one person commended me for supporting my son's dreams and one person chastised me, encouraging me to push him in another direction. The truth is, I don't know which is right. I am just going on what I would've liked when I was his age. I would have wanted the people closest to me to support my dreams, to tell me that the things I believed in were worth believing. I would've wanted the adults in my life to let me jump, and to be willing to catch me at the same time. I would've wanted someone who was old enough to say with the gift of hindsight, "This is the best time in your life to chase your dreams." Because it is.

As parents it's hard to know when to let our children take risks and when to pull back the reins-- when to, as my concerned family member asked-- urge them in a different direction and when to say "Go for it!" For us, for now, we feel that it would be tragic for our son to one day say that he has regrets because of something he didn't do when he could. Will he go to Hollywood or NYC and chase his acting dreams? I don't know. Next year this time he could have a new plan. What I want the most is for him to remember parents who bought into his dreams, who told him to go where ever they take him and to believe in himself and God's plan. I have no idea where our children's dreams will take them, but I can't wait to see. Dreams are powerful things. We have to listen to them and that's what we're trying to do. Are we doing it right?

Time will tell.
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Kim said...

I agree MaryBeth and commend you for supporting him...God will lead his way. That's where our hope lies in all of this. God's blessings to you and I'm still praying for you all.

Denise said...

Having faith is to believe in something or someone, and to trust in God's will for the outcome of our dreams. I think it is awesome that you have that faith and trust in God and your son, and to encourage him to follow his dreams!

In Swindoll's "Insights On Romans" he writes "that faith is to trust that something rather than nothing is here; what you have seen allows you to trust what you cannot yet see; faith-or-trust allows us to move beyond what we see in order to experience what cannot yet be seen."

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Cor 5:7) Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)

God bless your son's future! :}

sagreen125 said...

As a parent of 5 kids, 3 out of college or didn't go. Really all we did was pray for them. They all seem happy. Doing at this point what they are gifted at.
As I talked with our pastor one day years ago. I just prayed they would do what God wants.
I do the same for my 17yr old and almost 3 yr old. Because it is doing what you are called to that makes you content in life.
Bravo to you guys. He is young, and this is the time. Knowing his parents are behind him.

Denice said...

You are doing exactly right! One person who accepted an Oscar last night thanked the people in his life who encouraged him to be creative and follow his dreams. Who knows? Your son could be thanking you someday! :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Marybeth,

We also have run into those situations with our children. Our daughter left for a year in England on a mission trip 3 months after graduating from High School. She then came home got married and went to Mexico for 2 years on the Mission field. Some people were excited and even a little jealous while others were very critical saying she's too young. With our oldest son, God has gifted him with a desire to write fiction that honors God. So he is pursuing it. People are always asking are you going to college, if not you need to get a good job. It can be so frustrating when people use the amount of a paycheck as the determining factor on what we should pursue. Hang in there. God wants us to raise our kids according to the way He crafted them together. I would give anything to have the life my kids have while I was growing up. To have the opportunities to follow hard after God and the dreams he gives us. I am pursuing some of those dreams now but it is at the age of 43 and a little harder to pull off. Keep seeking God, and keep helping him to seek God. May I suggest reading the book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson for some encouragement. May God boldly use your son for His glory and in the process give your son the desires of his heart.

By His Grace
Melissa Russell
South Carolina

Christian Mommy Writer said...

I think you are doing a wonderful job.

I was watching the Oscars last night and one of the award recipients thanked their parents for supporting their dreams. As parents, we have so much influence on our children's outlook on life. As long as they aren't wanting to do anything immoral or against the law, what harm can supporting them do?

Mom Can I? said...

Love that story. Love that you think it's ok for him to want to go for his dream. Only young once!!!!

Anonymous said...

I think you're doing great.
Encourage him (along w/ the other 5)to chase those dreams. I have 2 daughters, ages 17 and 7. I've always told them to be whatever they desire when they "grow up". and to never let anybody tell them they can't reach for the stars. There are no limits if we try. We don't allow the words "I can't" in our house b/c if you stay focused it can be done. So....tell him to go for it but assure him you and dad will be there for anything.

Amy Carroll said...

Our oldest wants to be a professional musician. That's a scary track too, and I wonder sometimes if we should encourage him in a different direction.

I have a personal story that tells me differently, though. When I was in high school, I worked in an icecream shop near a NC campus. I worked with this crazy girl named Sandy who quit college to go to NYC to become an actress.

Last night she won her first Oscar. My "Sandy" is Sandra Bullock!

Gracie Bea Winterton said...

As a kid who has one of "those crazy unreliable dreams" (which my parents are letting me follow instead of going to college, much to the chagrin of certain people we know who tend to have the same attitude as your family member) I'm on your side. God doesn't always call us to do things the world's way. Yay for parents who realize that!

P.S. I lovelovelove the title/cover of your novel. It's officially going on my "to read" list just 'cuz it's so beautiful.

Lori said...

Absolutely LOVE that you shared that. They only have one chance to write their story and it may as well include their dreams.

Oh Dear said...

It seems to me that your encouraging simply says, "I believe in you." What person, young or old, does not need to know that?

Carey said...

"Train up a child in the way THEY should go..." You're on the right track mom! His dreams--God's plans for him...not our dreams. So hard to do! But you're doing great!

Colleen said...

I, too, wish that as a child I had parents who supported me in my dreams. They did not, and it has taken me 30 years to realize my dreams, which are truly just beginning. I believe this is all in God's time. For now, instead of just pursuing music, He has made me a singer just for Him. Nothing could be more satisfying than using the gift He gave me to give back to Him. In sharing His gift to me, I give all glory to Him and share His love with everyone. It is the greatest joy I know. The moral? Never give up on your dreams, but do give them to God. He will do the rest.

We need to believe in our children and their dreams. They might just be a calling from God.

Allison said...

Love this post! I try to remember when I am raising my children that if it is not a "heart" issue then does it really matter. That makes it hard when people (who mean well) say something about the haircut (or lack there of). I applaud you for supporting your child in his dreams. Thanks for the reminder!

Bonita said...

Your son is blessed to have such wise parents!