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Good parenting is all about nurturing your children's dreams, writes Ian Munro.
A couple of weeks ago I discussed the importance of families getting into deeper talk about who they are, what they are, their values and what is really important in their lives.
In other words, moving away from what I call "family-lite'', family life that's little more than the quick, daily exchanging of information, arranging of schedules and ferrying of children from A to B.
This deeper talk about identity and values should be more than about the now. It should also include a reach back into the past and look forward to the future.
European New Zealand families, in particular, don't or can't share much about their cultural roots. For their children, life doesn't go further back than when they or their parents were born. Cultural icons don't extend much beyond the Warriors, the All Blacks or the local mall.
However, even if we have ourselves become disconnected from our past and have little to offer in that respect or can't share a journey back with them, we can support their future.
Fortunately, most children do, in fact, see beyond the world of the mall and do still have dreams and ideals, even as we bury ours under the immediate problems of daily living.
So, as we sink into our disillusionment and feel helpless about global warming, terrorism and sexting, our youngsters are developing their dreams and generally still viewing the future optimistically with some sense of hope that they will make their fortunes, become a celebrity or change the world for the better.
While we might feel cynical at times, we need to be careful not to prick their bubble. We need to encourage them to pursue those dreams in a realistic way without putting up the barriers of "stupid idea'' and "get real''.
You may well be right in such thoughts, but the best way of dealing with this is to talk about what the first steps might be and to get them to do a bit of research.
The aim is not to quash the idea but to get them thinking and talking about where they need to start.
By taking a positive approach yourself, you can let them find and discuss any pitfalls or hurdles and leave them to rethink or come up with solutions.
Let them have their dreams: they may well achieve them or get well down the path towards them, and, if not, they may get some pleasure out of them before life eventually sets in.