Friday, September 14, 2012

Don’t Be a Dream Squasher

About a year ago, my eighteen-year-old niece accused me of being a dream squasher. I still cringe thinking about it. See, one Sunday, I was sitting around talking to my sisters about my other niece’s rigorous dance practice. At the time, the poor little thing was only ten years old and she was practicing around the clock. I was worried about her studies and friends and, well, her quality of life.

I made the mistake of saying, “That’s the trouble, these activities are so all-consuming now that kids are missing out on being kids. Plus, the chances of them going on to a professional level is virtually nil.”

The eighteen-year-old looked at me in disgust and hissed, “Dream Squasher!” Then, she looked to our little dancer and said, “Don’t worry, I believe in you.”

My heart dropped.

“You’re right, you’re right,” I immediately told my niece. Typically, I’m not so quick to recognize my gaffes, but her words were like a smack across the face.

Though I might think that today’s sports and activities are out of control, who am I to say whether that time is well spent? Who am I to question a young person’s passion? Who am I to go around squashing dreams?

What’s even crazier is that I should know better. I am a grown woman still chasing mine. In fact, I have spent more time, tears, and effort on becoming a published author than I have on anything else in my life. Now, a dream squasher could easily look at that and give me the horrifying statistics on the number of writers who actually make it to publication. A dream squasher could point out all the time I’m taking away from my friends and family in this pursuit. A dream squasher could question, is it worth it?

If I’m being honest, I’d say, “Hell, yes!” It is worth it – even without a publishing contract, even though I sometimes spend more time in my head than I do in the real world, even though it is absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

It is worth it.

That’s what I plan to remember and I vow never be a dream squasher again.

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