It’s Time To Change The American Dream

When my kids grow up, I want their hearts to be free, their souls to be nourished, and their burdens to be few.  

Part III: It’s time to change the American Dream

College grads with more debt than job opportunity.  Jobs that take us away from our families while barely paying us enough to make repairs on our home.  Happy marriages that are statistically more likely to end in divorce.  Entitled kids that can’t see beyond their tiny phone screen.  16 million people suffering from depression in America.  Food that is literally killing us.  These are all things that are “normal” in American society.  All things that are part of the American Dream, we are unconsciously living.

This version of the American Dream is soul crushing and has to be changed.  Recently, my husband and I tried to make some drastic changes to our American Dream.

We put our 2000 square foot home on the market to live in a 700 square foot camper for one year.  We were only going to keep the essentials (clothes, sentimental items, etc), pack them into the truck and travel with our 3 girls across the country (and back).  I had a writing gig for money and of course, we would have some money from the sale of our home.  We were going to document our travels and share with the world our new version of the American Dream.

More importantly, we were going to fulfill our dream of spending a year together as a family, seeing things none of us had ever seen before.  As a teacher, I could teach the kids their online school work to ensure they met the “standards” but in traveling, they would be learning through experience, and there’s no greater lesson than that.  Exploring caverns, and writing about adventures.  Meeting Native Americans and learning about their sacred land. Camping under the stars and learning about science in our true environment.  These lessons would be truly unforgettable.

However, this didn’t happen.  We expected to sell our house in days, it sat on the market for weeks.  We started to get pressure from family regarding our parenting and whether we were thinking of our own children in all this.  It turned nasty, because some were too stuck in their selfish feelings that they were not able to see the amazing experience this would have been.

What I’ve learned is that the majority of people are afraid of change.  They’ll work a dead end job where they spend more time at work than with their family, because they’re afraid to take a risk to try something different.  They’ll listen to their kids complain about countless tests and an epidemic of bullying, because they don’t understand the endless school options now available.

I’ve also learned that many of the people who judge us, are the same people who discriminate against others.  Their fear of the unknown motivates them to have a very closed-minded, one-sided view of the world, and they’re not afraid to give their very judgmental, biased opinion.

While these people are driven by fear, my husband and I are driven by purpose.  Our purpose is to expose our girls to things in life beyond their current understanding.  To bring experience and passion into their lives so when it’s time, they will make decisions based on experience, rather than someone else’s belief.  They will be strengthened through our ability to take a risk without fear of failure and given the confidence to follow through on their dreams.  Most importantly, we’ll give them the freedom to choose because we realize the importance of never telling someone who or what they can be.

Our dream is on hold right now, but it’s not dead.  This year holds a lot of changes and we are very excited to embrace them and share them with all of you.

To be continued…

Want to see how these views were shaped?  See About a Boy and About a Girl.

One Simple Wish for My Children: About a Girl

When my kids grow up, I want their hearts to be free, their souls to be nourished, and their burdens to be few. 

Part II:  About A Girl

Her parents didn’t have money to send her to college, they didn’t even have the means to make sure she finished high school.  She was determined to go to college because there she would have freedom.  All she ever wanted was a happy heart and a soul mate.

She thought she’d be a Sports Broadcaster, do something many women weren’t doing at the time.  She loved football and imaged herself on the sidelines calling the game and talking to athletes.  She was a dreamer.

Unfortunately, without any money, she had to work full time just to pay for part time credits in college.  She was really good at her sales job, so much so that she made more money than her mom did that year.  Her dad, who wasn’t in the picture much, was also in sales and applauded her choice to choose work over school.  She had approval, money, and a boyfriend, but she was unfulfilled.

She worked at that company for 5 years before transferring to another city to follow her boyfriend.  He had his degree, there was never any question that he was going to be in business.  She found sales to drain her and went in search of something more.

She ended up getting married and having babies.  Her heart was full as a stay-at-home mom.  At night, she attended college classes and eventually earned her degree in education.  She loved learning, it fed her soul.

Unfortunately, once she found herself, she lost her husband.

She could have sacrificed herself, forgiven him and moved on, like she had before, but this time even though her heart was breaking her soul was full.  She chose to muster her strength and seek her happiness again.  She found it, within another, but most importantly, within herself.

She never lost faith in herself.  She was given the power of making her own decisions.  She was given the trust to fall, knowing she would have to pick herself up again.  She was given the confidence of unconditional love.

She has a free soul; Society resents her.  She refuses to fit in a mold; Baby boomers judge her.  Her heart can be a bit of a kamikaze; Realists laugh at her.  She doesn’t care.  Her mind is as open as her heart and she refuses to let anyone tell her how or what to think.

How do I use experiences like these to teach my girls how to be happy and empower them to make their own decisions?  Read more below:

Part I:   About a Boy

Part III: Guiding our kids to be happy, healthy, and nourished within.

About a Boy: The American Dream

I have one simple wish for when my children grow up; I want their hearts to be free, their souls to be nourished, and their burdens to be few. 

Part I:  About a boy

It was Senior year, he had taken all the classes his parents told him to take and ended up with a very high GPA as well as a partial scholarship.  When asked what college he was going to, he answered with the same college his mother went to.  When asked what he wanted to major in, he answered with the program his dad guided him toward.

He chose finance because, well, money makes the world go ‘round.  His parents assured him he would have no trouble finding a job after college and that his salary would be along the lines of what he had been raised on.  His parents had money, and their spending whether it be on the design of their beautiful home, or extravagant trips, was never a secret.    

He graduated with a Business Degree in Finance and got a job with a local branch of a Wall Street giant.  Less than a year later, when the greed and corruption of floating money hit the fan, he was let go.  He moved to Tampa to follow his fiancé, and has been crunching numbers with the same company for over 10 years.

He eventually married his high school sweetheart, bought a nice house in the suburbs, and had a couple of kids, but he wasn’t happy.  Why wasn’t all of it enough?

It wasn’t enough because he was living someone else’s dream.

He sacrificed his love of art, and his dreams of living in a big city.  He never took his musical talent seriously, even though music is what nourishes his soul.  He liked the attention of exotic girls, and imaged himself dancing with them until the wee hours of the night at an underground nightclub in London.  The image of himself in his heart and in his soul, were unrealistic compared to who he had to be in the eyes of others, so he killed them.

He stopped dancing.  He stopped making art.  He stopped making music.  He hated his job.  He got divorced.  He felt like he sacrificed it all, for what?

His soul was lost in an American Dream he didn’t create.  It’s like a version of the Truman Show where everyone is controlling your life without you realizing it.  One day you wake up, and go “who’s life I this?  Who am I?”

He lives without true freedom, without a happy soul, and with more burdens than he can carry. 

Want to read more?

Read Part II Here

Read Part III Here