Last night, 21 year old swimming Olympian Ryan Murphy, gave me so much inspiration to write this post for parents and children. If you missed it, he won the 100M backstroke in record shattering 51.97s seconds and won his first gold medal ever in an international competition at the 2016 Rio Olympics. While this feat is amazing in itself, it’s the story they showed after this win that instantly drew me to his success and made it feel so bittersweet.
When Ryan Murphy was 8 he wrote a little letter to his mom saying that one day he would make her proud by winning an Olympic medal in swimming, breaking records, and being the best swimmer in the world!
AND HE DID IT
This was so empowering and moving to me because as parents sometimes we sweep our children’s dreams under the rug. We laugh them off as to far fetched and silly sometimes and some parents completely disagree with them. When I was younger I loved singing and dancing. All I ever dreamed about and talked about was becoming a singer. I spent countless hours singing and writing music in my room, participating in my school choir, and entering any singing competition my school offered. I won many State Solo and Ensemble first and second place medals, was section leader for my choir, and even won a directors award but through all of this my father didn’t see this as a career and would constantly remind me it was just a hobby and I needed to find a more “realistic” career path.
This always hurt and bothered me but in the end I listened because you are taught to believe your parents know best. To this day I regret that decision because 29 years into my adulthood I still haven’t found passion for anything like I had for singing.
So thank you Ryan Murphy for reminding me to never stifle my children’s dreams. Parents, I urge you to do the same like Ryan’s mom did. She never gave up on her sons dreams or laughed it off and encouraged him to follow his heart and look at the magnificent outcome that came from it. Life is full of failures no matter what career path you take. I think we all know that and that is why we feel the need to protect our children from making the same mistakes and failures we have but this is part of life. I am sure Ryan Murphy has fallen into many pitfalls on his road to the Olympics but his mom was there always with an outstretched hand. Always nurture your child’s happiness regardless if you agree with them and encourage them to explore and find their happiness by any means necessary. In the end they will thank you for it. Children, if you have a dream that your parent’s constantly haggle you about do not let it sway you. In the end, it is your life and you are the only one who is going to live it. If it makes you happy…