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2021 Mar

Design Dreams

Talk about Careers with your kids and teach them to Dream Big!

One of my favorite activities as a girl was hanging out with my BFF, Wendy, and poring through thick Sears catalogues, our eyes big with desire and envy as we drooled over trendy clothes, cool décor, and the myriad things we knew our families couldn’t afford. But instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we turned those catalogues into dream homes.

We would circle dining room suites, beds and bedding, kitchen ware, sofas, lamps, and everything imaginable that we would furnish our dream homes with. Then we’d draw up house plans for the homes we hoped to own one day when we were all grown up. Diving into those thousand-page catalogues was an exercise in imagination and the perfect activity to keep us busy on cold winter afternoons.

Of course, I know I’m dating myself. These days we just have to turn on our computers or whip out our phones to find everything we could possibly want for our perfect home and lifestyle. As someone who loves the feel of paper between my fingers, I have to say I miss the sense of discovery that came with turning those catalogue pages. You never knew what inspiration you might find on the next page.

In this month’s issue you’ll meet three local women architects who turned their design dreams into their professions. Their stories remind us of the importance of dreaming big—and also how our dreams as young children often plant the seeds for our future. These women have been fortunate to live in a time when walls are coming down for women (and ceilings are breaking). Their stories remind us as parents to teach our children to pursue their dreams.

Talking about career paths with your children when they’re young can be the best way to broaden their chances for success. When you walk into a gorgeous building, like the Chrysler Museum of Art, for example, ask how the building makes your child feel and remind her that the building was born on a drawing board in an office somewhere and, thanks to a lot of skilled workers, became the majestic building it is today.

You can talk about career opportunities with your kids wherever you are, sharing your enthusiasm for all the different kinds of jobs available and how each one contributes to making the world a better place.

Go to the library and pick out books about different professions. As you read them with your kids, help them see that if they want something badly enough, they can achieve it.

Instead of pursuing a career as a designer or builder or architect, I chose to become a wordsmith, a career that also offers me the chance to express myself creatively. Instead of building homes or hospitals, I build stories. And storytelling across all genres and professions is what connects us to each other.

Here’s to an early spring, more widely available vaccines, and achieving our dreams!

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and publisher of Tidewater Family Plus magazine. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.


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