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…