What it means to dream

IMG_4491When I was a young girl, I longed to be a school teacher.

My brother, sister and I had a toy room in our basement. The space was all our own and we filled it to brimming with the many loved toys of our generation: GI Joe, Lego, Cabbage Patch dolls, Barbie, She-Ra Princess of Power (remember her?), and on and on. My favourite thing in our space was a full-size schoolroom chalk board. The day my dad brought it home, I was immediately on his case.

“Daddy, put it up! Put it up!,” I begged, as I vibrated in excitement and anticipation.

I was 7.

Hours were spent closed up in my mock classroom filled with rows of stuffed pupils and whatever thick books I could find around the house. The bigger the book, the more  “professional” I felt. I read them to my stuffed toys, and lectured in both English and French about all the grand ideas of a 7-year-old mind. I copied and copied things onto the chalk board. It was pure child’s play, but child’s play that came from a desire to be somebody.

At school, I watched teachers parade down the hall, listening enviously to the clippity-clack of their heels and admiring the files and books they rested snugly on their forearms. As I watched them diligently filling grades into class lists and and ticking check marks in their daily planners, I would eagerly anticipate going home to do the very same thing. I sat primly at my desk at my desk making charts with names and assigning grades to random and fictional people.


Many years later, long after I had abandoned that dream  for other diversions, I had went for an angel reading. While psychics and fortune tellers mostly scare me, an angel reading seemed somehow less invasive, and at least marginally more spiritual. Plus I was curious. Angel readers don’t predict the future, rather they connect with your guardian angels and provide insight into how to move forward based on the lessons of your past lives. Fun wouldn’t you say?

The angel reader told me many things, but focused mainly on one central theme. She told me that my calling was to work with children and to care for them in some way—not as a mother, but as educator or child care provider.

“Your soul” she said, “Is made up of a strong root system whose strength is to nurture and understand those around you.”


Nothing came of that reading; but I was reminded of it earlier this week when I wrote about my core values. As I considered them, my thoughts flowed naturally back to that childhood dream and I felt a moment of loss; loss for what could have been and perhaps for what should have been.

It’s unfortunate how easy we lose our way when we are young and unprepared for life decisions about big things like career and ambition. In our youth, our decisions seem so fluid, we believe that anything can easily be changed.

Indeed, everything does change. We get married, we buy houses and cars and start working on our retirement plans. Then we have children and suddenly we discover ourselves wrapped in responsibility. The decisions that once seemed so temporary, at once become final.

And sometimes we forget what it means to dream.

Image: ‘IMG_4491‘ by alkruse 24 via a Creative Commons license.

13 thoughts on “What it means to dream

  1. ayala says:

    Christine, this brought such memories. I used to teach my stuffed animals and I wrote on my furniture. I didn’t have a blackboard but I always wished that I would have one. My sister in law told me that she used to do the same thing and she did grow up and she became a teacher. As moms I think we are alway teaching….:)

  2. Lisa Thornbury says:

    Loved this. 🙂

  3. Kelly says:

    Great insight into your personality and past, Christine. I never wanted to be a teacher, but I did — and still do — enjoy being around children. My mother pushed and pushed for me to study medicine and specialize in Pediatrics. I think part of my humanities degrees are a result of bucking against her pressure.

    As the adage goes, youth is wasted on the young.

  4. I’ve never heard of an angel reading? Interesting!

    I will never regret the years I spent in the classroom, but I was really lucky. I had great kids. And now many of them are married and dang, I feel old. 🙂

  5. Wow … you know what? I can totally see you as a teacher! As my hubby says: Life is long. It’s never too late. (He’s an eternal optimist, but hey, there is truth in it!)

  6. Christine, I love the memory of you as a seven year old playing school. It brought me recollections of my own childhood. I loved to play school as a kid – I made up lesson plans, folders for all my students, and rewards if they did well. Nothing ever came from that childhood play. But it reminds me of a time when I loved doing something for what it was. No degrees, no pressure of money, no labels – the lovely time of youth.

  7. So true, Christine! I often think about the strange juxtaposition of parenthood–the immense happiness but also the delay of dreams for mom and dad. Reading this, I was struck by how much you respected and admired you teachers. I remember having those intense feelings, too. Yet in the adult world, teachers are often given short shrift and inadequate respect. It’s interesting to think that most of us probably wanted to be a teacher at some point, because they are such powerful nurturers and role models. But we forget that as adults–we forget just how much impact they have, and how heroic teachers truly are.

  8. Karen says:

    My mom was a teacher. I never wanted to be, though I did emulate her in my play at times. Oddly enough, I ended up going to University for music education. The experience there proved I was right not to want to be a teacher. I bet you’d be a very good teacher. 🙂

  9. Belinda says:

    Lovely. It’s easy to forget that there is no prescribed path and no requirement to conform to a set “adult” life. To dream? Yes! It’s our muli-pass ticket to exploring possibilities, and even those we may call impossibilties.

  10. We can find our way back. I dreamt of writing.

    Ps. I had forgotten those childhood hours you wrote about. Thank you.

  11. denise says:

    It seems that we would’ve gotten along just as well as children as we do now. 🙂 Playing school was one of my all-time favorite pastimes. And once, my school had a book fair and sold out-dated copies of the teacher’s books….Oh! did I feel so mature having the book with all the answers, lesson plans, etc.

    I believe that dreams whisper to us. If we chose to ignore them, they get louder and louder until we have no choice but to heed their vibrant call. Another thought that my life coach always shares with me: think of life decisions as “For Now” instead “forever”. xoxo

  12. I love the “root system” you describe. I feel captured by this root system. Haven’t been at your blog in awhile, but have thought about you so many, many times. You’re planted deep within. Interesting.

  13. I love this. How you weave strong memories from childhood with tough decisions from adulthood. How you thread together the realities of thinking big when young and thinking practically when mature. May we never completely forget how to dream…

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