The other day, I sat down with some other moms and discussion turned towards kids, like usual. As time went on, I felt my eyes get wider. I drove home that night, and wondered, who am I to think I can raise my kids to be leaders, or thinkers, or saints? I should be glad just to keep them out of drugs and porn! My dreams of how I wanted to raise my kids suddenly seemed grandiose and unrealistic.
I thought about this a lot this week. Are my dreams for my kids too big? Am I just setting us all up for frustration and disappointment?
I was washing dishes yesterday, and listening to a talk by Orrin Woodward. “It takes courage to have a dream,” he said. Many don’t want to dream, he said, because they are afraid they’ll fail. If they don’t have a dream, and don’t accomplish it, they’ll have no embarrassment. No disappointment. It doesn’t take any courage not to dream.
But, I’m certainly no great thinker, leader, or saint, I tell myself. How on earth do I expect to teach my kids this, if I’m nowhere near there myself?
But, people have done it! I read an article this morning from a 16 year old, who says “I am hungry for greater knowledge and understanding. I am beginning to see some of what our world is facing, and I am determined to be among the heroes who save it.” Isn’t that awesome! I want my kids to be like that!
So, I’m reading some scriptures this morning, and come across Lachoneus and Giddianhi in the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 3). They’re in the middle of a huge war between a band of robbers and the Nephite people, and Giddianhi, leader of the robbers, sends a letter to the Nephite governor, Lachoneus. In it, Giddianhi tries to make Lachoneus doubt himself.
“I care about you and ‘feel for your welfare’,” Giddianhi says, “but you aren’t powerful enough to destroy my army. Furthermore, you may think your cause is just, but really you are just harming yourself and your followers. Give up this crazy dream. You will never succeed.”
I think I have a little Giddianhi in my head, telling me I can’t, and I shouldn’t, and I won’t.
Oliver DeMille talks about the voices in our heads in the book The Student Whisperer. We have positive and negative voices, he says, and they run our lives. Negative voices include the Critic, the Judge, the Victim, and the Rebel. “Negative voices criticize us and tear us down, leave us feeling despondent, futile, defensive, complacent, and inactive,” says Oliver (p. 219).
Lachoneus wouldn’t listen to the little negative Giddianhi though. He was a just man and “could not be frightened by the demands and threatenings of a robber; therefore he did not hearken” (v.12). He then goes to work: gathering his people together, creating strong fortifications, setting up constant guard against the enemy, and praying to God for strength. And, you know what? He finally defeats Giddinahi and his robbers!
How awesome is that? Lachoneus shows us just how we should deal with the negative voice in our head. Don’t be frightened. Don’t listen. Then, go to work and overcome.
It’s ok to have big dreams for your kids, I realized. There’ll be that little Giddianhi voice in my head, telling me I’m not good enough, that the opposition is too strong, and that I should just give up.
And I just have to stick up my nose and say. “You don’t scare me,” and ignore him.
Here’s to big dreams!
(La la la, Giddianhi. I can’t hear you!).