This was originally posted by the Marion & Polk Early Learning Hub here.

I’m not completely sure where he got it from, but my son is a dreamer. He has so many ideas and questions in his head and really wants to know how things work. He’s asked us many times if we can help him make his own video games, robots, transformers. While my wife and I enjoy hearing about his wonderful and creative new ideas we often worry…how do we tell him we can’t make every idea happen exactly how he imagines it without breaking his spirit?

I love watching him come up with different Lego creations. His brain works so very differently from mine. Whereas I love following directions and having something to look at, he thrives on taking whatever pieces he sees and coming up with unique, amazing creations. I often stand back amazed at his finished products and wonder how that young brain can be so creative.

So how do we keep encouraging his imagination and fostering his love of ideas while acknowledging our own limitations? One thing we do often is praise his thinking. I often tell him that I’m amazed by his brain and ability to come up ideas because my brain doesn’t work the same way. We provide him with plenty of craft options and building toys to encourage that creativity and we attempt to try out as many of his ideas as we possibly can. And when we can’t we praise his imagination and ask him if we can keep that idea in mind for later. We try really hard to keep the dreamer in him alive even if we can’t help make every dream come true. After all, it’s often the dreams that seem the most out of reach that we strive the hardest for. Now can someone help us figure out how to make a homemade robot?

This is fatherhood…