Don’t know whether it started with Mr. Rogers or Dr. Spock or even earlier but this addiction to lying to kids by telling them that they can be anything they want to be has got to end!
We really could use infusing kids with realistic expectations. It is simple to prove the falsity of overstating what a child’s expectations should be.
(If you read these “observations” regularly, you know that baseball is a religion with me.) Exhibit #1: Minor league baseball players. You know that everyone of them aspired to go to the big show (the major leagues). They worked unbelievably hard; almost all were the big stud of their high school baseball team and perhaps college as well, if they went. Now they come up upon the reality of their life: 98% won’t make it to the bigs and even fewer will remain.
The most awful pain must be for the player tagged “4-A” or “AAAA”, meaning too good for the highest minor leagues but something in his tools and/or his physical or mental makeup will prevent him from ever playing in the big leagues. He healed from the broken leg or ankle from a bad slide and it looks completely healed but he lost a half-step of quickness. Ask Tommy Davis or Orlando Cepeda if broken bones ever heal to the point where you have not lost a thing off your game.
Tell your kids to equip themselves to do something they like to do and then work towards gaining the expertise necessary.
It is the constant lying to kids, building their self-esteem to the sky without any appreciable levels of achievement, that causes them to crash and burn when they discover the falsehood of what they were told. This is a poison that can ruin young lives.