What Are You Selling? It seems like everyone is trying to sell something these days. In the sports world, it’s the dream.
“You shouldn’t do that.”
“You shouldn’t say that.”
“You shouldn’t sell the dream.”
So, we shouldn’t tell kids to dream big?
So, we shouldn’t tell them that anything is possible?
I’ll never forget a kid at the back of my class raise his hand one day while we were covering the careers section in PDCP 10 and say, “I want to play in the NBA, that’s my dream.”
Who am I to tell a kid not to dream, and not to believe in that dream. Obviously, I dreamed about making the NHL. That wasn’t really a realistic dream, but I didn’t have teachers outwardly tell me that I couldn’t. In that moment I talked about how hard it would be to make it to the NBA, we talked about the process and trajectory. I never told that student that he could never make it, I shared a few stories about people that have accomplished their dreams in a different manor, in a different avenue or capacity, but still reached their dreams.
My advice that day was to keep dreaming, keep working hard, but who am I to tell someone that can’t make it or they shouldn’t dream.
Maybe, by talking about dreams in my classroom, I’m guilty of selling them, but when I see 15-year-old kids that have very seldom been told that they good at something, I tend to try to motivate and inspire. At 15, many kids don’t truly know what they want to do which is ok, but they don’t think they are capable of accomplishing anything really and I have a big issue with that. I’ve been teaching Gr 9 and 10 kids for almost two decades, I try to explain that at 44 years old, I still dream, that I still have dreams that I’m working towards. Obviously, I might not get there, but it’s the journey, the people you meet and the process that makes it extra special and that it’s never too late to dream. So, I guess, I’m guilty of selling dreams, but I might be guiltier of selling hope.
We keep telling kids that it doesn’t matter who they are or where they are from that you can accomplish anything you want.
Is that really true? Do they have the skills to make that happen? Do they really have the right skills to make their dream a reality? Hell, that’s our job as teachers or coaches to provide those skills, to motivate and to facilitate growth, but it starts with someone believing in them and giving them hope.
It’s emotional for me when I see kids faces light up when I tell them I’m proud of them. I’ve actually had kids well up and start crying when I told them that. Maybe we should be selling hope, kindness and compassion a little more, we might see a drastic shift in teenagers self-concept and confidence. Perhaps we would see more kids reaching for their dreams and aspirations rather than not having them at all. Maybe these kids just need more people to believe in them. I quickly tell my students, just like I did with former players when I was coaching that their goals or dreams are right there for you, right in front of them, it’s within reach, but you have to work your ass off for it, you have to take every advantage of the opportunity when it presents itself and that you want to keep opening the doors of opportunity, not closing them.
I used to have this old poster that I had photocopied in my classroom at the old Moncton High School, it read, “Never fear the space between your dreams and reality.”
I tell my students about that old poster every year.
Maybe, I’m selling the dream in the classroom, but I’m never going to change that aspect of my teaching. You see, I’ve met too many people over the years that have shared similar stories with me about accomplishing their dreams in their respective sports or lives to stop believing or sharing them with my students.
Those stories need to be shared, they need to embraced because they inspire.
For some students or player, they are just words, for some they might never clue in into the fact that I see their full potential. I see struggling students, but I see their work ethic, I see students with no vision, no direction, no confidence, because they haven’t found their calling, their passion, they might be lost in a sense at 15, but when they find their strongest attributes they light up.
When I go to the rink and see young athletes pour everything into the sport they love, I want to share their story. I want to tell their stories due in large part to the sacrifices they have made, the adversity they have faced and their dream.
“Oh Craig, you can’t or shouldn’t do that because that’s selling the dream, the hockey dream.”
Who am I to tell someone they can’t accomplish their lifelong dream?
Who am I to tell a hockey player they aren’t good enough or a student they can’t do that?
There are thousands of stories out there where a player has proved everyone wrong and, in some cases, proved everyone right.
Believe in what you want to believe in, but we should never ever tell someone not to dream.
Maybe I’m too much of an optimist, but dreams can come true.
“Never fear the space between your dreams and reality.”
What are you selling?