This past week, Phil and I attended a promotion assembly at our oldest granddaughter’s school. She has completed 1st grade and was promoted to 2nd grade. Two things stood out to me in particular at the assembly. First, the ethnic/racial mix of the students and therefore the audience of family members was very diverse. The names that were called out reflected this diversity as well. I was so pleased to see this variety – this is the real world in which our grandchildren are growing up. The various children our granddaughter has as classmates and friends will allow her to appreciate and know from an early age that as humans, we have much more in common than the differences of our hair texture, skin color, or the shape of our eyes. “Red, brown, yellow, black, and white , they’re ALL precious in His sight…..” All children have the potential to dream.
The second thing that blessed me was the song all five classes of 1st Graders sang together. It was called “Dreams” and the words the children sang told about the dreams each of them had for their futures. Their lives lay ahead of them and there is so much they dream of doing. Having bright hopes for the future is an important part of healthy child development. Wanting to be a fireman, nurse, or a cowboy gives a child a vision for their future and it also makes going to school purposeful. (Does anyone know what degree a cowgirl needs?) If a child has no dreams for their future, they will not have hope.
Each milestone a child reaches is worthy of celebration. I was pleased that this promotion to 2nd grade was low-key – just a song and calling out each child’s name. Yet it says to the child – “you have completed something and we are proud of you.” Their dreams may seem unrealistic or even silly at this stage in their lives, yet those dreams give children a hope for their future. I can tell when one of my high school students has no dream for their future – they are apathetic, disengaged, and unhappy.
Phil and I went on a hike Saturday with dear friends to Pinnacle Peak. This is a strenuous trail that climbs steeply up to the peak and the reward is a spectacular view of the county in which we live. While hiking our friends mentioned that their son has told their five-year old grandson that when he is 16, his dad will take him on a hike to a mountain peak in Yosemite National Park. Their grandson talks about this and is looking forward to this “milestone”. It struck me how wonderful this dream is for this little boy! He is looking forward to doing something that is very special, it involves his dad, it is “healthy” on several levels, and it is something that he will always see as a significant accomplishment.
God has dreams for us as well –
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Psalm 40:5 (NIV)
5 Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
The dreams God has for our children and grandchildren are beyond compare. It will be a wonderful challenge to seek God’s direction and allow God to use us in fulfilling HIS dreams in these precious children’s lives.
There was an article in our local paper this past week about a fifth grade teacher who has for many years had his students write letters to their future selves. Then he mails them the letters when they graduate from high school. Some of them remember writing the letter and anticipate getting it back; others forgot they wrote it. Some have kept the same dream for years, others can’t even remember being interested in what they wrote about in fifth grade. Your post made me think about this thoughtful teacher again. Yes, dreams are important!
Thank you for sharing what this thoughtful teacher has done. The impact on these students must be significant – even the fact that he remembers to send the letters the year they graduate is noteworthy. I hope I can encourage my grandchildren’s dreams!