Lotso, Texts and Big Dreams
Recognize this bear? It’s Lotso from Toy Story 3. I received this picture via MMS on my phone about 2 minutes after Angie sent me a text that she was getting in the shower. TD had her phone. The fact that TD took a picture is old news, he’s been an iphoneographer for about two years (a couple of recent pics below). In 2008, Angie found pics on her phone of Taunt-Taunt (his stuffed elephant) sitting in the middle of our bed. Today, however, was the first time he’d texted a picture (to my knowledge). Initially, I questioned whether he knew what had occurred. But when he texted his name to me about 30 seconds later, it answered that question definitively. I received a few more texts, mostly gibberish, as he only knows how to spell a few words. A few texts later, he sent a picture of Lotso’s butt.
What’s amazing to me is how technologically in tune the kid is for only being a few months past his 4th birthday. He’s moved seamlessly through the iPod function on our phones. He’ll grab mine, unlock it, go into the iPod function, press the “More” icon, open up movies and tv shows, then watch what he wants. He’ll skip through Batman to watch the scenes where Batman drops Jack Napier into the toxic waste or when Batman saves Vicki Vale at the Gotham Art Gallery. This week, he came down the hall with the music playing and asked his mom if the woman singing was Brandi Carlile. When Angie confirmed that, he simply stated that she had a pretty voice.
When he receives permission to watch a movie, he’s the one who proceeds to turn on the tv, change the input to HDMI 2, starts up the PS3, throws in the movie after replacing the old movie/game in its case (although he’s moody on this detail) and gets it playing. He taught Angie how to do it and he still does it on his own as my parents don’t know how to get a movie started. Cracks me up, to be honest with you.
Now, it’s text/pic messages. He hasn’t figured out how to switch our phones into video mode yet (thankfully), but I’m sure it’s coming. And as he starts reading a little more, it probably won’t be long until I have a receipt from iTunes in my email inbox.
In addition to TD’s multimedia fascination, one characteristic of his worldview that I absolutely love is his expectancy that he’s going to do something or ask for something and it’s going to work out. He doesn’t start out with low expectations just so that he doesn’t get disappointed when things don’t go well. When he pursues, he pursues with the full intention and expectation that he’ll get what it is that he’s pursuing. Some call that childlike faith. How many of us do the same? For so long in my life, I asked for less just because I thought it increased my chances of getting it. And you know what I ended up with? Less than what I really wanted. Now, I just ask for what I want. I don’t always get it, but at least I asked with the expectation that I’d get it. It’s exhilarating to live that way.
See, TD isn’t afraid to ask me about anything. He asks all sorts of questions expecting an answer. He asks for all sorts of things, expecting to receive them. Nothing is too big or too small, too hard or too easy. It’s just something that he wants to have. He expects his life to be about growth and fulfillment. When I can, I give those things to him because of the joy I have in granting his requests. Other times, I have to decline because I know that what he’s asked for isn’t what’s best for him, so I’ll typically explain to him why he can’t have what he’s asking for. But sometimes, the answer is so far beyond his comprehension that I just have to tell him to trust me. Then there are other times when I know him well enough to know that what he’s asking for isn’t really want he wants, but is just what he wants RIGHT NOW. But if I let him have what he wants RIGHT NOW, then he’ll never be able to have the thing that he REALLY, REALLY wants.
Ultimately, he knows it’s his job to dream big and ask for what he wants and he understands it’s my job to do what’s best for him. Sometimes he doesn’t want to hear it, but usually he learns from my explanations (want evidence? if you see him, ask him about McDonald’s. You’ll get an answer based on how their toys are crap and the food is unhealthy). It’s my job to help him discern what he really wants and to help him learn to sacrifice little dreams so that he can have his big dreams.
These same principles have been true in all my relationships — with God, with Angie, and with family & friends. If I don’t make it clear what I want, most of the time I’ve got very little chance of receiving it. When people love you, they enjoy giving you what you’ve asked for when they can. And when they love you, they withhold things they know aren’t good for you. Sometimes a “no” answer leads to a lot of thought and soul searching, only to find out what you thought you wanted really wasn’t what you wanted at all. Dream big and ask for what you want in life; don’t reduce your expectations out of fear of being disappointed.
Like TD’s pictures, we can only see what we see. I think most of us understand that. But unlike adults, kids don’t assume that their perception is messed up and prevent their disappointment by limiting their dreams. Unfortunately, adults tend to trust their previous experiences of disappointment. When kids don’t have everything they need to be fulfilled, they just ask for more and reveal their vision for their life. I encourage you to do the same — even if means sending a picture via iPhone.