Do your kid, or any kid, a favor. If you know they have limitations thay will stop them from doing something no matter how hard they work, don’t tell them they can still do it. It messes them up when they finally realize they can’t do it and there’s nothing they can do to change that.
In 2008 I decided that I wanted to be in the military. Everyone told me that I could do it. They entertained the idea. The encouraged me. Some didn’t know I was unable to be in the military, so I understand why they encouraged me. Others, however, knew I had no chance in hell. Yet they still encouraged it.
I was convinced that I could do it, I was going to do it, and nothing was going to stop me. For four and a half years I worked for it. I did more than what I had to in school, I worked out all of the time, I asked the recruiters so many questions I’m sure they were driven nuts. I talked to soldiers who weren’t recruiters. I watched the Military Channel religiously. I had vets give me old handbooks from basic training, and soldiers who were still actively in gave me handbooks. I knew as much as I could know, I was in top physical shape, I had great grades in school, and I was ready to go. I did this for four years.
It wasn’t until my Sr. year in high school that I got the killing blow. I go in with a big smile and I was ready to join. I was asked, “do you have any mental or physical health history we need to know about?”
I froze. What did he mean? Did he need to know everything? So I asked, “like what?”
He gave examples and it was the mental illness one that stopped me in my tracks. I did. He could tell by the look on my face that I did. He then added, “I only know what you tell me. But if they find out later you lied you could get into some trouble.”
I wanted to join the military more than I needed to breath air. My dream of being a Marine kept me going for the past four years before this moment. Through moving several times, bullying, unspeakable drama, and more it kept me going. The goal of being a Marine made me feel normal for the first time in my life. My moods were stable, I wasn’t depressed all of the time, I was focused, I was driven, I was… normal. I didn’t, however, want to ruin my life if it was found out that I lied. I knew it would be very easy for the military to find out I lied too… So I told the truth.
I had had the same recruiter for the four years I was in high school. He was a big influence in my life, and great friend, and I will never forget the silence between us after I told him my mental history. I didn’t go into detail, just my diagnosis. I knew he knew this before asking too. I think he was hoping I would lie so he wouldn’t have to be the one to tell me that I was disqualified from joining the military.
That was how I found out that I couldn’t do anything I wanted to do. Alone, with my recruiter and friend, in the recruiting office, having my whole hopes and dreams, my fully planed future shattered in an instant. Four years of preparation and time wasted in less than ten seconds.
That kind of thing changes a person. It has made me double guess everything I want to do. The only thing I have been able to think of doing that creates a fire in my heart like being a Marine did is being an astronomer, and that will never happen. I know it won’t. Even if I were to try, and do my best, and try my hardest it would never happen. Now I’m stuck with settling for things I don’t really care for but find interesting.
So if you know a kid can’t do something because of something they can’t change, don’t encourage their dream. Let them dream, but help the broaden their horizons. I’m not saying if there is a slim possibility they can do it to not encourage them. I’m saying if there is 0% chance that they could ever do for whatever reason, don’t encourage it. If they don’t listen, be there when the pieces fall apart, and be patient when they try to find something else to do.