This morning I was listening to the Today show on my way to work. They were talking about the Olympics, including interviews with Nastia Liuken and Shawn Johnson, as well as their parents. At one point in the interview they were talking to Shawn’s mom. I know I’ve heard stories like this before, but this time I actually thought of the significance of what she was saying.
To summarize, her mom had put her in gymnastics as a little kid (to burn off her extra energy, of course) not intending her daughter to become an Olympian (I would guess). Years later she was competing, and (they didn’t go into a lot of detail on this part) over the years she has had to re-finance her house 3 times and struggle financially to keep her daughters dream alive and to allow her to compete.
It sounds like a wonderful story on the surface. Imagine that….your little hyperactive daughter is now a world-class athelete!!! But what about all the years in between? How did they know it was going to pay off? What if it hadn’t paid off?
I’ve also heard this story relating to young musicians and child actors. The parents uproot an entire family to pursue the dreams of one of the kids. (Hillary Swank, Beyonce and Jessica Simpson come to mind.) Sometimes they go into debt, sometimes they live out of their cars for a while….all for one child. Again, it sounds amazing and (dare I say it) noble….but do you think this might be because we know they finally succeeded? How many families do you think go through the struggle, but never make it? (You don’t need to answer that, but if you have any statistics I’d love to hear them.)
What I’m getting at is at what point do you know that a dream is worth keeping alive….worth going into debt for? In retrospect we can think “wow, imagine if she hadn’t gone into debt….Shawn Johnson might not be an Olympian today!” or “Bootylicious” might not be referenced as thought it was an actual English word today (ugh, if only!! hehe).
If I keep going I’m going to keep rambling, so I’ll leave it at that. I’d be curious to know what you all think!!