I used to write letters home in rhyming verse when I was 9. My teacher was so charmed with one of them that she submitted it to the school magazine.
I told my father this, delighted. “Oh, it won’t get in.” He said.
I looked at the magazine with trembling fingers when it came out.
And here it was.
He’d look at magazines, and say doubtfully, “I think this writing is better than yours.” But I later got into the same magazines, and my writing was comparable–or better.
Each time I won something, he suggested another goal post. When The Washington Post published a little piece of mine in 1997, he suggested The New York Times. When I won the National Endowment for the Arts award of $20,000, he asked when I’d win a Pulitzer, or was it the Nobel Prize? He meant to encourage, but it caused stress in a time of rejoicing!!
When he heard of a friend of mine starting her Ph.D in her thirties, he said, “She’ll never finish it. She’s too old.”
* * *
One of my daughters has inherited this trait. When a friend made a list of 50 things to do in a summer, she bet her £5 that she couldn’t do them. Admittedly, she also offered her £5 to read the Bible, so I guess the two bets cancelled out.
If she hears someone’s big dreams, she says, “Oh, you are full of yourself.”
She looks at my shelves and says, “Oh, you will never read all those books. You will never watch all those documentaries on DVD.”
* * *
Whenever I see my parents’ or Roy’s parents weaknesses in our daughters, I get alarmed. How did they get them? Did recessive genes skip a generation, and emerge in them?
Or, shoot, is it environmental? Did they pick up these traits from us?
* * *
Oh, Lord, I do not want to be negative. I want to be positive, hope-filled, grace-filled, a conduit of your word to those in my world.
Show me when I am being negative, and stop me in my tracks.
Give me glimpses of the dreams and destiny you have for others, and help me impart these hope-filled dreams to people. Help me plant seeds of hope, vision, possibility and destiny in other people.
Let me be a dream-waterer, a dream-nurturer, and never, never a dream-crusher!!