Role reversal: Help Your Parents Unpause their Dreams
Unfulfilled dreams make for unhappy people. Some people couch it behind dull smiles and others just vent to their friends. As people grow older, with their dreams left unattended, they harbour not just regret but also despair. I’m quite certain we’ve all met people over 50 with unfulfilled dreams, we just don’t recognise them. While they may not say it out aloud, you can hear it in their disappointed voices.
Our parents work tirelessly to provide a better lifestyle for us while putting their own dreams on hold. Most of the time, they don’t get a chance to unpause them. As adults, it’s time to flip things around; it’s time for us to take on the responsibility of encouraging them to pursue their unfulfilled dreams, just as they did for us. We can inspire them to #LiveNonstop.
It may not always be possible to support them financially, but that shouldn’t stop us from finding other solutions to prevent their dreams from fading away. All it takes is a little time, love and understanding.
In my pursuit to better understand how to help my own parents fulfil their dreams, I reached out to my friends for advice and was pleasantly surprised how others were on a similar mission to support their parents’ dreams. Vinay* helped his dad (60) pursue his dream of becoming a soft skills trainer and open his own academy; Divya* is helping her mum (58) achieve her travel goals; and, Keshav* is working with his retired dad (62) who wants to help the less fortunate in his community and beyond. Here’s what they taught me:-
Recognising and respecting their dream:
A common thread that runs along Vinay, Divya and Keshav is that of empathy and respect for their parents’ dreams. They got great results just by talking to their parents; simple heartfelt conversations about what they really wanted to do. Keshav pointed out that when conversing with his dad, he kept all his opinions in check till he fully understood the thought behind his dream. At first, Keshav couldn’t understand why his dad didn’t want to travel or start his own business until he confessed that he would be happier doing something that has a positive impact on communities. Keshav thus believes that it’s important to remember that our parents’ ideas may differ from what we may have in mind for them, so keep a neutral mindset and they’ll open up.
It’s about motivation
Parents are usually the driving force in our lives, encouraging and empowering us to ensure we pursue our dreams. Vinay was always inspired by his father’s positive attitude, but now it was his turn to motivate him. He knew his father was a great teacher and also wanted to start something of his own. Vinay reminded his dad of the great job he had done training him in soft skills – then why not teach others as well? Vinay convinced his dad by helping him realise his potential and encouraged him to combine it with his goal. He connected his dad with a few prospective students who were interested in the training. As Vinay’s dad guided those students, it helped him realise that he could still live his dream, that he still had it in him.
Give them time to decide
Parents could feel a little overwhelmed with the realisation that some dreams may seem a difficult to achieve given physical and emotional strength constraints. Vinay’s father was initially reluctant and it took him a whole year to help him make up his mind. While Divya’s mother was enthused, she needed to make up her mind about places to go to and the spiritual trips she wanted to make. It was only after five months of their first discussion that she was ready to make her first trip. So try to give your parents time to figure things out, without any pressure, even if you’re excited for them. This will ensure they do not feel stressed out. Instead, take their time to get comfortable and build enthusiasm for the new idea or venture.
Another common aspect amongst these three families was the insecurity each parent had. They were concerned about being physically able to accomplish what they wanted. This seemed to be the biggest roadblock standing between parents and their dreams. For Divya’s mum, it was a major concern as some trips required quite a bit of strenuous activity. Keshav and Vinay’s dads also wondered if they would have the energy to ensure that their dreams reached fruition and continued to grow. After all, dreams need commitment and, the commitment has to be backed by strength and willpower. This was the biggest insecurity with each parent.
By reworking their diets, and encouraging them to take up the right activities like walking and yoga, Vinay, Keshav, and Divya were able to ensure that their parents overcame their insecurities related to physical strength and endurance. For emotional strength though, of course, the children were their rock-solid pillars.
Would you like to help motivate your parents to unpause their dreams like these three individuals? Then check out this link. It includes stories of people who are putting age behind them and sailing full steam ahead to #LiveNonstop.
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*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Abbott Healthcare Pvt Ltd; however, the views shared in this article are personal.