Efficient Parenting Counsel on for Teens: My wish for anyone with Disney-size imaginations.
by Blake Taylor
I was raised in a Disney-loving home, the matriarch of which lived in Winter Park, Florida in 1971, the same year a certain vacation destination opened its gates for the very first time. Disney stories, films, music, and characters have always had a presence in our family for as long as I can remember. Woody and Buzz Lightyear were two of my most prized possessions. The Lion King VHS tape would play practically around the clock. The world’s most famous mouse, who I referred to as “Mimi Mou,” was my hero. As a child, Disney was important to me, whether I understood what the word “Disney” really meant or not.
And as a child growing up in a home where Disney movies were in heavy rotation, “dreams come true” was a repeated notion that was subtly engrained into my brain, as it is many other children. However, as a little kid, your dreams mostly consist of swashbuckling the Spanish Main as a pirate or holding royal court as a princess, and unless you plan on breaking multiple international laws or inheriting an unknown highness, those dreams probably aren’t going to come true, no matter how hard you wish upon that trustful star.
As I write this, I’m in my college dorm room. It’s my freshman year and I just moved in last week, and the reality of my childhood dreams is starting to hit me like a bag of Haunted Mansion tombstones. What I fear is that I, and my peers, will cease to believe in our dreams as we become “grown-ups”. I have dreams, and currently, my belief in them is strong. I’m just afraid of growing up and forgetting that sense of childlike wonder, losing that confidence I once had.
When we’re young, we often have bold belief in vast, fantastical dreams that are probably unattainable (but are okay to fantasize about). Oppositely, as we mature into adulthood and actually have foreseeable, practical goals (the fancy adult word for “dreams”) in mind, that same bold belief we once had has been diminished and might just mean the difference in that dream coming true. Kids who have no outlet for their dreams are the ones who dream big, while young adults who actually finally do have the world at their doorstep are the ones selling ourselves short.
If we retained the same beliefs to go the distance that we were taught by Disney characters as young children and used those ideals in a practical mindset as we enter the scary world of adulthood, we could likely go a lot farther than we’d think.
If you’re a teenager on the edge of diving into your future, I urge you to think back to what you wanted to be when you were a little kid. What did you want your future to look like more than anything in the world (and what spirit did you approach it with)? How does that compare to what you want to do with your life now? Furthermore, how can you blend those two ideas and mindsets together to create an affirmative dream that is not only exciting and intriguing, but is also realistic and attainable?
My dream job is to be a Disney Imagineer, something that formulated as I grew older and my appreciation of what Disney does became more authentic. The ultimate satisfaction for me would come in standing at the exit to a Disney park attraction and seeing families coming out laughing and smiling, knowing that I had a hand in what they just experienced. I do not delusion myself into thinking that role will come immediately or easily, but I hope to get there one day. For now, I embrace the small steps along the way. So right now I’m getting ready to start my freshman year of college, focusing on Media Studies and Creative Writing, eventually wanting to have a writing-based career with Disney.
Maybe you dream of opening your own restaurant like Tiana or Remy. Maybe you dream of putting smiles on children’s faces like Woody or Mike Wazowski. Maybe you dream of exploration and impacting the people you’ll meet there like Ariel or Carl Fredricksen. Maybe you don’t know exactly what you dream of, but want to provide a successful life for yourself and your family like Aladdin or Mr. Banks. Whatever it is—whatever you seek, whatever you wish, whatever you dream—don’t stop.
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”