When was the last time you truly believed you were in the driver's seat? In the past year or so, I have been trying to see life through the eyes of children whenever I find little ones around me, and it is amazing to watch the faith they operate with hourly. During a recent bit of airport travel, I found myself on the underground train with a mother and her two small boys. The boys bounded into the train car and immediately ran to the box seat beneath the back window. Their hands braced against the glass staring down the dark tunnel, the tracks stretching into the distance. "You can be the driver, Tommy. Where do you want to go?" the mother asked the youngest. "I want to drive too mommy!" remarked the older brother jumping in the conversation. Immediately, the older brother looked down at his younger brother reminding Tommy that he would be the assistant driver because of his size. At that moment it struck me. We often take the words that are thrown at us as our new label. As a high school teacher, I watch this daily in young people. Somehow as we age, we become more entrenched in defeat, often just accepting the harsh words of others acting as if there was no other choice.
But not when we were younger...
There is something that happens along the way that shatters the belief that what we imagine in the “pretend world” really does come true. And that is exactly what I find so fantastic in watching small children. There is still a bold, and even growing, belief in what is possible.
In that moment of doubt, the younger brother simply looked ahead, pulled his hands off the glass, and gripped the imaginary steering wheel before him. The older brother, still absorbed in his self-appointed position, never even noticed the bold courage his younger sibling had embraced. We began moving, and the train quickly approached a split and two tunnels appeared. The mother leaned over the young boy, and whispering to him, again asked which way he thought the train should go. Without even thinking, the young boy moved his hands to the right, bending as he turned the "wheel". The train approached the split, and oddly enough we could not tell which track the train was going to take, and somehow, all of the adult passengers were now watching the movement of this young boy.
At the last minute, when it looked as if the train would not take the track to the right, and the little boy was beginning to doubt the movement of his body, the train jolted, and the train veered to the right! The boy fell to one side as the car jolted, only adding to the surprised look on his face. He had steered the train in the right direction! The joy on his face instantly captivated the heart of every disbelieving adult that had watched this young, bold conductor.
He beamed. The world of pretend had not let him down.
When we begin to dream, pretend if you will, there is a moment when we believe everything is possible. We envision the life we want, sometimes even taking that world of pretend out for a little walk as we share dreams with others; however, the thoughts of fear and doubt that have ricocheted in our head for years pound those dreams into dust and we shrink in defeat.
But what if....what if you held on to those dreams? What if you gripped that steering wheel with both hands, looked straight down the tunnel ahead, and used your whole body, and more importantly every ounce of your inner spirit, and just leaned in with bold belief?
What if we lived like Tommy? We too might find ourselves in shock over how much power there is in trusting our gut. When we live with courage, the tracks will lead down the "right” path.
Ironically, I was traveling in the airport that day with huge doubt punching holes in my dreams. But that little boy reminded me that it is all in the level of belief we are willing to afford ourselves. In a world that somehow has come to expect dreams to remain in the land of pretend, feed what I have heard called your soul-esteem. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and will whisper those bold questions in your ear shutting down that doubt.
I encourage you to dream. Pretend with the boldness you had as a child. You might just end up being the "Tommy" for someone else.Heidi Rickard is the Creative Director for The Authenticity Project, you can contact Heidi at TheAuthenticityProject@gmail.com