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Three Moanas

unsplash-logoMay Lawrence

I received a beautiful message from an amazing co-member of the 5 AM club on my daughter’s 32nd birthday. The message I’d recorded for our morning encouragement video ended with my granddaughter Khloe improvising a never give up message.

This prompted the message from Ani. Although we’ve never met in person, Ani’s light shines through her early-morning messages to our group.

She was asking for recommendations on how she could bring out positivity in her own children. Despite their young ages, they were dreamers and motivators, too. It was a great question. While it’s possible someone has a better answer than I had, I could only speak from my own experience.

I encouraged her to dream with them, to get them used to visualization early with vision boards and empowering them to dream. Invite them to stretch beyond their comfort zones, which are only theirs because they are ours

We’re cautious with our children and grandchildren, but we must be mindful that our fears and worries are not transferring to them. The only way we can do this is by consistently stretching beyond the confines of our own comfort zones. Children won’t always do what you say, but they will likely do what you do. 

This is most true when living in alignment with our dreams, with what is true to us and with the integrity we live by. It is just as easy to transfer our light, vision and boldness as it is to transfer our fears, doubts and limitations to our children. Why not focus on the brighter half?

As I thought about how difficult it may be to convey the message of what’s right and what’s wrong (in parenting, it’s not so black and white), I thought about the three “Moanas” in my life.  If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend you watch Moana (the Disney film).

In the main theme, Moana sings, “See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me.” She was ready for more. The fears of her parents – particularly her father’s fears – kept her land-bound. Those fears kept her dreams at bay and kept her from striking out, but couldn’t stave off her desire to adventure.

As parents, it’s our job to keep our children safe, but we must have the faith to let our children explore and dream in spite of our doubts and fears. It’s a hard line to walk. As parents we always think we know best.

But our best can only go as far as our fear, doubt and limitations will let us go. If we raise them right, our children will always want for more.  We want more for them than we had ourselves and the only way to do that is to let them dream and explore.

I have the blessing of knowing three Moanas who have been like daughters to me. One is my daughter, the others I met through her.

Jacelyne, my daughter, has no problem pushing the envelope.  I pray that she has always felt like she had permission to fail - to dream her dreams, to dare to go after them without fearing any consequences. She knows we’ll always be there, whether she needs us or not.  I’ve been dinged in the past for encouraging (if not pushing) her to go after what she wants to try. 

Jaclyne grew up in a very conservative, Catholic, Cuban family where leaving home is just NOT a thing at all, especially with all the grandmothers around.  If you’re Cuban AND Catholic, you know that there’s a great deal of pressure being the mom-in-between. My son was the first to dare to move away for college in the whole family (is that crazy) -- and then all hell broke loose.

He is living his life on his terms and never looked back. It seems like everyone from their generation is now somewhere else. And by the way, grandmas, we get to push our grandkids to dream even bigger. We should do it at every opportunity, as did Moana’s grandmother; she encouraged her to defy her parents’ limitations if they were standing in the way of her dreams.

Jacelyne left and left again and left again. I pray she will continue to pursue her dreams regardless of the noise around her. In doing so – through her example – she will always encourage Khloe to do the same. Nothing needs to be said – she’s showing her through her actions.

Khloe knows giving up is not an option. Jacelyne is teaching her to take chances and to be adventurous and dream big dreams without any doubt. Impossibility doesn’t exist. 

Alex a/k/a Alejandrina grew up much the same way, with parents and grandparents like us. She also dared to push the envelope, stretch far beyond what was comfortable, and is living life in perfect alignment with what she wants.

And, holy shit, she went as far away as you possibly could: Hawaii. From Miami, Florida, that’s a distance and a half.  We were all freaking out. While I can’t speak for her parents, I know them well enough to know that (like me) they are proud for her daring to live life on her terms, loving and missing everyone she left behind, but paving the way for those who follow. 

Jocelyn grew up the same way and stretched to follow her heart. She married the most amazing human on the planet and, voila! Not only has she given birth to three amazing little humans who are following their parents’ footsteps, but they are living the dream with her family in Rochester NY. 

She captures memories and sings like it’s nobody’s business and loves life and we love her life, too.  Without having dared to take a chance, none of that would be possible. 

They’ve all reached beyond that place where the sky meets the sea and have found that only a life lived in passion is worth living.  All I can say is that the best thing we can do for our kiddos is believe in them. Invite them to dream as big as they possibly can and then give them permission to follow their dreams again and again, without injecting our fears, judgment  and limitations on what they’re doing or why.  It’s an amazing view from the other side of seeing who they become when they are living life on their terms I promise.

The reward for me has been in all that I’ve learned from them, who I’ve been blessed to see grow into badass, determined, high-impact women who are daring to change the world in the ways that only they can do it.

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