Written by: Joe Fiduccia
There is nothing more precious than watching your little one sleep. From the moment your children are brought into this world, there is something magical about seeing them close their eyes and rest comfortably in the arms that brought them into this world.
Every night when we tuck our children in bed, all of the day’s stresses instantly disappear. Even if it’s just for five seconds, we forget about work, the bills, and the social drama. We become memorized as they sleep the night away, no doubt dreaming about all the fun experiences they have already enjoyed as a child.
And perhaps there is a piece of us that wishes we, too, were able to join them in their dream.
When I watch my son sleep, I am at ease. It takes me back in time to the few memories I have as a child, when things were easier. We played more. We laughed more. And we didn’t have to worry about the mortgage payment every month.
We had no fear, and we had minimal stress. We enjoyed school. We learned how to socialize. We didn’t yet fully comprehend things like friendships and love, and how sometimes the friends we play with today can become the worst of enemies tomorrow.
Our children see this world in a much different way than we do. When they go to bed at night, they aren’t thinking about the senseless acts of violence around the world. They don’t care about corrupt politicians. They don’t see their friends as ‘black or white’.
All they see in their dream is the beauty of life, and the joy that tomorrow will bring for them.
Yet the day will come when their dreams are challenged. When their future looks bleak. When they, too, might worry about losing a job or getting that next paycheck to support their family.
And if we are fortunate enough as parents to be by their side, we will help guide them the best way we know how: through advice, experience, and just casual conversations at the dinner table.
But what if I told you we could do more beyond just the face-to-face chats? That we have the power to better prepare them for the life ahead. What if you could pass down the advice you are waiting to share until they get older…all while they are resting comfortably in a deep sleep?
Experts claim that our brains subconsciously pick up everything happening around us while we sleep, even though most times we have no recollection of it.
Sure my silence might good for a peaceful night’s dream. But it’s my voice that will help him get through the nightmares of tomorrow. So when my son is dreaming peacefully in his bed, I walk into his room and pull the blanket over him, ready to share another piece of wisdom I have picked up in my journey through life.
For example, when he is asleep for the night, I tell him that life will present challenges he will not be expecting, but to never stop believeing in himself.
“My son: There will be times when you feel like giving up. But you will never realize your full potential if you don’t keep trying. Take on each challenge as it comes. Use your experience to guide you down the path you believe is best. And regardless of how things turn out, never look back.”
There are times when I lay next to him while he sleeps, and talk to him about not caring what other people think. That it is his life, his journey, and his Footprint he is choosing to leave behind.
“My son: Sometimes your friends and family just want to help. And sometimes, all they want to do is hurt. People will talk about you behind your back. They will be vindictive. They will look for ways to bring you down because they can’t stand to see you so happy.
Friends and family will make you smile, and they will make you cry. Sometimes they will try to force their way into your life when you just don’t want them there. They may break your heart, but never let them break your spirit.”
In the calm of the night, I speak to my son about fear, and how he should never let it get the best of him.
“My son: You will have ideas. You will want to do things that seem impossible. You will want to experience things that are so far out of reach, physically and financially.
However something will hold you back. You will be scared of the unknown. You will be afraid of failure. And there will be someone inside your mind who will tell you not to face that fear.
Yet if you don’t try, you’ll never know what’s like to be fearless. Make smart decisions, and let your wisdom guide you. But never be afraid to stare fear in the face, and tackle it head on.
Most people spend their entire lives wondering. But you will spend your entire life living.”
And right before I leave his room for the night, I never forget to tell him about the great potential he has within.
“My son: Everyone has their own beliefs. People do things their way. Not your way. But that’s also what makes you so special.
You are an amazing young man. You have done, and will do some incredible things in life, and you will inspire so many people along the way. You are traveling down a road that no one else will take, but you are also leaving behind Footprints that others might choose to follow.
Walk cautiously, and remember that you are never alone. I will always be there, right by your side.”
There are certain things our children are too young to understand. And as parents, all of us are waiting for the “right time” to have certain conversations with them as they grow older.
But what if we wait too long? What if life has other plans? What if the future we are trying map out for the role we play in our child’s life just doesn’t go the way you expected?
What will you do to be proactive in helping them see their future, through your eyes?
What will you whisper in the ears of your children tonight?