Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dreaming Dreams

I wonder sometimes if a little unrealistic dreaming may just not be a bad thing.  Especially when it is mid-winter and despite the beautiful weather, everyone is suffering from a bit of cabin fever.  And especially when our car is still out of commission and we haven't been exactly mobile.  My kids and I easily get swept away in our dreams: our future trip to Switzerland with a friend of mine, our camping trip this year to (hopefully) the nature reserve on Assateague Island, and most recently, a home in New England. 

This mythical, mystical home in Maine has brought about some lively debate this evening.  The kids have argued bedroom size, number of computers, number of bathrooms, showers, televisions, fences for dogs, and anything else they could argue.  It is kind of funny hearing them argue about something that is, right now, just a dream.  And to be honest, after awhile it became rather irritating.  But along with all of the bickering and quarreling about the material things they would like to see in their home, something else - a new twist on this all - popped up, the fact that my kids understand that there are many, many children who are in such a place that they can't even dream about these things.  From my vantage point on the couch, I overheard some comments from my kids that confirmed my belief that I've raised some very compassionate children. 

Now I know that the likelihood of us packing up and moving to a beautiful home in Maine is next to impossible, but when you are 13 and 11 years old, anything is possible.  And to be truthful, it is hard for this 48 year old to believe anything but the same thing!  But still.....it was really nice to hear my son say that if we did move, he would like to find 12 kids who have had a crappy childhood (his words), and invite them to spend some time with us.

This tells me a couple of things.  First of all, my 11 year old son has developed compassion - a trait I believe that is absent in many, many people I've run into over the past year or so.  I'm so pleased that he is able to recognize and empathize with others.  Second, this tells me that he feels that his childhood has been pretty good - good enough that he wants others to experience the same thing.  What a boost to my self-esteem!  And all these years I've thought I've been the meanest mother ever........maybe I've done something right!

And really, how bad can a dream be if it generates feelings of love and goodwill toward other humans?