Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Never Crush Anyone's Dreams
I never dreamed of being a college professor. Does anybody?
In fact, I always gave my teachers fits in school, as evidenced by grade school report cards:
- Second Grade: Improvement needed in self control
- Fourth Grade: Perry needs to exert more self control
- Sixth Grade: Perry needs to exercise better self control
As a little kid, I dreamed about playing professional basketball. I played and played for hours. In third grade, we had to write an essay on what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wrote that I wanted to be 6’10” and play in Madison Square Garden. When the teacher handed back my paper, she laughed out loud and said “You can’t do that!” That was the first time someone had crushed my professional dream.
Why would a teacher be so unthinking? She may have been right about the 6’10” part, but this molder of young minds lacked the understanding of what negative reinforcement can do to little kids. She also lacked the understanding that height isn’t everything for a basketball player. Teachers, especially in the impressionable K-12 years, are my personal heroes. But they need to be dream builders, not dream destroyers. It’s healthy to discuss rational backup career plans, but why spoil youthful exuberance which could flower into the unexpected?
Take Away: Your words can stay with a student for his or her entire life.
Note: That's me at age 25, playing basketball with former NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Mark Eaton (7'4" center for the Utah Jazz)
© 2009 Perry Binder, J.D. This article contains excerpts from my book:
Unlocking Your Rubber Room: 44 Off-the-Wall Lessons to Lighten and Transform Everyday Life http://www.yourrubberroom.com/