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Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Sharing Our Dreams with Our Children


I recently had the opportunity to go to a two-week filmmaking workshop. It meant that for the first time in my daughter’s life (she’s four and a quarter) I was going to be away from her from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. There were many reasons that the workshop was important to me, especially because it would fulfil my childhood dream of having my first short film screened.

It was day two of the workshop, and my daughter was not happy. We sat on her bed and talked about the day ahead. It was her last week of kindergarten and although I was going to be dropping her at school, I was not going to be picking her up. “Why do you want to make this film?” She wanted to know. It was a perfectly reasonable question. In that moment, I was unable to tell my daughter anything but the absolute truth; but how to phrase it in four-year-old terms?

I started tentatively, “You know how at nighttime you sometimes have dreams?” She nodded. “Well there are also daytime dreams too.” I went on to explain a bit more about night and daytime dreams and then told her that one of my long standing daytime dreams was to make a film. I told her that I had had the dream since I was little and realized as I was speaking that the dream probably reached as far back as when I was seven or eight.

When I had finished talking we both sat in silence for a moment and my daughter reached over and gave me a hug. She didn’t say anything but I knew that the hug meant that in her own way she had understood what I had been trying to communicate. I helped her to finish getting ready and took her to school. She did not ask again about why I had to make the film, and I was even able to arrange for her to have lunch with me at the workshop the following week.

Then something surprising happened. My daughter started to talk to me about her dreams. She would wake up in the morning and report what she dreamt about the night before. She has an active imagination and has started playing around with the idea of daytime dreams. This included us sitting together to make a list of all the things that she would really love to happen. The first thing on the list was creating a cutting and sticking project with me about cats and dogs. If only my dreams were that simple to manifest.

© 2011 – 2013, JC Niala. All rights reserved.

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JC Niala is a mother, writer and creative who enjoys exploring the differences that thankfully still exist between various cultures around the world. She was born in Kenya and grew up in Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire and the UK. She has worked and lived on three continents and has visited at least one new country every year since she was 12 years old. Her favorite travel companions are her mother and daughter whose stories and interest in others bring her to engage with the world in ways she would have never imagined. She is the author of Beyond Motherhood: A guide to being a great working mother while living your dream.

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  1. CommentsSarah Turley   |  Wednesday, 17 August 2011 at 2:10 am

    What a wonderful story. It brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day business of school. I love the idea of talking about dreams – however small – and keeping a record of them so you can gradually fulfill them. About thirty years ago, I read a self-help book and made a list of the things I needed and wanted to do in the short-, medium- and long-term, including dreams and ambitions. Periodically I take out the list and it’s amazing to see how many of the things I have actually done over the years. One thing I thought I would never do was learn the flute as I thought I’d missed my chance as a child when lessons were subsidised and I could hire an instrument at school. Yet when I had a health scare, I realised that it was something that would make me happy, and show my children that you’re never too old to learn or follow your dreams, and maybe it would inspire them to take up music or some other hobby which would make them happy too. Following your dreams isn’t selfish; it shows that you value yourself and your children will respect you for it, even if it does temporarily inconvenience them.

  2. Commentsclaire niala   |  Monday, 29 August 2011 at 8:47 am

    thank you for your heartfelt comments

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