The Mistake of Dreaming for Our Children

I choked back the words. Gulped them down and swallowed—hard. They were bitter, disappointing, careless. Words that would have only torn down. Words meant to bolster my ego.

Though they never made it past my lips, I heard them. And my daughter almost did too.

My girl is reserved. She saves her words. Not one to begin a conversation, she struggles when meeting new people. She was attending a meeting with me, and I was leaving her at a table with some of my friends she didn’t know while I took care of a few things.

Bending down, I began do whisper, “Don’t…”

Don’t be so shy were the words I almost said. The words by-God’s-Holy-grace I managed to stuff down. I recovered and voiced instead, “Make sure you look people in the eye and speak to them when they speak to you.”

I may have said the right thing, but I walked away broken and defeated. My daughter is shy. Quiet. Contemplative. And I had just tried to change her. I tried to mold her into the human I wanted her to be. I forgot God’s hand in her creation.

Too often we envision the little humans hosting our DNA with the expectation that they will be just like us. They’re not. And if we expect our children to live up to our dreams for them, they will fail.

It will be our fault.

It will be our fault because our dreams for our children aren’t necessarily God’s design for His children. Because they are each a beautiful gift. All created to reflect God in their own unique way.

When I try to stuff my children into a mold they weren’t designed for, they are distorted, squeezed, misshapen. By failing to be satisfied with their talents and personalities, I am dooming them to a life of unmet expectations, dark comparisons, and defeated self-esteems.


When I allow my mothering heart to be guided by the still small voice of the One who created my children, I begin to see them for who they are meant to be.

When I choose to recognize their strengths without comparing them to my friends’ children or to my expectations, I allow them to breathe. And in breathing we find the growing. The maturing.

My daughter may be shy, but who defined this as a negative trait? I did. God did not. She is also slow to speak. Her perceptiveness about the world is uncanny for a girl of ten. She’s the kind of kid you listen to when she has something to say because it’s often thought provoking.

These are all beautiful facets of her personality. Facets I need to help her foster instead of telling her to hid them. If I don’t try to stifle His design, God will use these gifts in amazing ways as my girl grows.

God-sized dreams are always far greater than my own.

What if my daughter fails to see her God-sized dream because she was trying to fit the mold I held out for her? My heart withers at the thought.

Lord, may it never be so…

Our role as parents is to guide our children toward our Jesus. If we allow Him to mold them their hearts and direct their dreams, how can we be disappointed?

God-sized Dreams

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4 Responses to The Mistake of Dreaming for Our Children

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. Lisa Catino says:

    What a well-thought-out, perfect way to present this truth! You are extremely talented, and you hit me right between my left and right lungs, where my heart nestles and often needs to be reminded of virtually everything you wrote about in this piece. You have my gratitude this evening.

  3. andylee166 says:

    This is so hard. My second child was extremely shy. But I always insisted he look people in the eye and speak to them when he was spoken to. He is almost 21 now. He’s still shy, but he’s working for a civil engineering company where he’s on his own, no high school best friends by his side. He must engage people. We don’t want to change our children, but we must teach them to be respectful and help them know they have something great to give. I know you’re a GREAT mommy and will raise wonderful children.