The amazing day has finally arrived: in your arms you hold the most precious package you could ever have hoped for.  She is perfect, swaddled securely in a blue and pink striped receiving blanket.  Her fuzzy little head is covered by a cozy knit cap, her tiny ears peek out from the bottom.  You study her every expression and feel that you could cover her plump cheeks with a thousand kisses.  You hold her close to your chest and feel her warmth against you and know with all of your heart that this little one can accomplish anything she wants in this great world.

As she grows you enjoy countless moments with her.  Sometimes you struggle, as all parents do, but regardless the journey is fulfilling.  You applaud her successes, ache over her heartbreak, and believe in her endlessly.  She is smart, capable and loved.  One day she shares her dreams for the future with you.  She has found what she is passionate about and has a bold vision for her life.  Your heart soars when you hear her dreams.

Then one day your sweet baby tells you that someone said no to her dreams.  Someone said she could not do it.  Someone said, "Be realistic."  What do you tell her? I imagine you tell her to pay no attention to that person.  You tell her she is capable and smart.  "Go after your dreams," you say.  You feel the heat of anger in your core with the idea that anyone would discourage her.  If only you could shield her and her dreams from the naysayers.  Even if you are not a parent, I am willing to wager you can imagine this scenario.  If you are a parent you can probably relate to the desire to protect the dreams of your children.  Now, what about your dreams?

So often as adults we put our dreams aside or let the negative thoughts of others get to us and we convince ourselves that we are not the capable smart people we actually are.  Naysayers unlock the door to our fears and then we pull the door wide open.  How is it that we allow our own dreams to be subject to the scrutiny of negative people in our lives, but the tiger in us emerges when we imagine anyone putting down the dreams of our children?

Imagine again that baby I described.  Envision her again, tiny fingers, bitty toes and a lifetime ahead of her- but this time she is you.  What do you tell her? Tell her to protect her dreams.  Tell her that she is smart and capable and that she should go for it.  Nevermind the naysayers, just envision the dream and go for it.  As you would for your child, protect your dreams.  Be selective about who you honor with the privilege of knowing those dreams.  Share your bold vision with those who support and nurture you.  Allow your dreams to flourish and thrive in the supportive environment they deserve.

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    Jennifer Loebel